The Illinois State University vision was to build Annual Giving into a solid foundation for ISU’s advancement program — by developing a culture of stewardship among alumni, and by engaging as many as possible to become annual fund donors — in order to help secure ISU’s future as a leading university.

The strategy consisted of five key elements. The effect of each element is cumulative, so one builds upon the foundation laid by the ones before it. They were:

  • Steward
  • Engage
  • Acquire
  • Retain
  • Upgrade

To achieve this, an integrated, multi-channel marketing campaign centered around the University’s content marketing plan and the social media strategic plan was developed. The result of this strategic plan was: :

  • in FY2012, increased gifts through direct mail by 85% while increasing overall donors by 4%.
  • in FY2013, increased gifts through direct mail by 67% while increasing overall donors by 5%.