Don't "Go Dark" — How UBC Manages Communications Between Fundraising Campaigns

The University of British Columbia

What should happen to our communications with our audiences when a major fundraising campaign ends? Do we let them slow to a trickle? Or can we find other opportunities to stay in touch? 

Richard Fisher is presenting on the subject at the upcoming CASE District VIII conference. He's Chief Communications Officer in the Office of Development and Alumni Engagement at the University of British Columbia. We asked him to share his thoughts on fundraising communications between campaigns.

What usually happens to university communications when a fundraising campaign ends? What do you think should happen?

There’s a tendency to think that we should go completely dark but this certainly isn’t true on the events or the stewardship side which are busier than ever as legacies of the campaign. On the communications side, it’s important to maintain a regular presence with your key audiences so that if you do need to relaunch a campaign, you haven’t been ignoring them for a period of years. Obviously the public-facing side of your efforts is less visible but your key audiences (alumni, donors) should not feel that way.

How can universities carry the momentum of a campaign forward after it is completed? How have you done this at UBC?

By seizing lots of smaller opportunities and ensuring that donor and alumni perspectives are maximized. There are so many things going on in a university that there is always something you can take advantage of between campaigns. But you have to look for them.

What advice would you give to schools looking to emulate your success?

I would advise them to emulate their own success! No one model works for everyone. If you can learn something from what we have done that’s great but it’s more important that you build a plan that is right for you. Context is everything when you are building deeper connections and only you can evaluate the context you are in.