Well, for one man it certainly was. I'll explain why in a moment.
This is one part of a fundraising campaign we have been running for Imperial College, London. And there's a little story behind it.
Last year, Adrian Salmon of Leeds University demonstrated to me the power of the alumni-university relationship. He kindly invited me to speak at the CASE conference. How could I refuse? I went to Leeds University. I said I'd love to but...
...I don't really know anything about alumni fundraising.
Thankfully this wasn't enough to put Adrian off. I presented on the techniques we have used to engage donors and build strong relationships with them, for charities as diverse as the Art Fund, WSPA and The Stroke Association, to take three examples. And a little while later, Ros and Zoe at Imperial came to us suggesting we employ a similar approach for them, centred around donor needs, to raise money for scholarships.
What a wonderful opportunity. And as I mentioned, the pack above is a part of the resulting work, which also included on and offline communications.
So what's so personal about it?
Well, we soon found out that Ros and Zoe had done an incredibly sophisticated mailing themselves the previous year. To build on this, we found a way of using their great data to appeal to students of different generations.
Ros and Zoe set us the challenge of increasing participation and we put in place a target of more than doubling the response rate from the previous year. One way we tried to do this was being relevent (this previous post from Mark expands on this point).
So if you studied at Imperial in the sixties, you had a greetings card with an image from that time to remind you of your time at university. This one in fact.
From the fifties through to more recent graduates, each segment received a different photo to take them back to the university education they cherished – with the aim of motivating them to fund scholarships for the next intake of students.
But when the version of the pack pictured above went out, a man rang up to say he was in the photo! He asked where we'd got it from and could he have more copies! So that really is super, super personalised. If only we could have done that for everyone.
Anyway, the good news is that, by the time you read this, we should have beaten target in just three weeks and the reminder has only just mailed.
With higher education funding in a state of flux, there's a new imperative for universities to raise funds. Many are moving away from annual appeals to fuller fundraising programmes. Imperial's drive to increase the number of active donors seem like a good route to take.
Here's a few more links you might find interesting.
- One of Adrian Salmon's campaigns is featured on SOFII here.
- Article I picked up via twitter, which shows how Oxford University are approaching the problem.
- Mark's post about how universities and arts organisation dominate the highest level of giving.