In mid-2018 Lincoln University asked Barrer & Co to help them create a fundraising strategy for their Alumni and Development Office.
The University has a strong, loyal alumni. In interviews, we discovered potential to activate this community as life-long supporters. Our research fed into a fundraising roadmap for their Alumni and Development team.
Subsequently, Lincoln entered a time of transformational change. Barrer & Co were engaged to help their Alumni and Development Office deliver the strategy.
Director of Student and Stakeholder Engagement, Kate Flower, recalls why the University reached out to us.
The University engaged us to deliver the fundraising strategy in September 2019.
Our goals were to help them recruit a Director of Development, then embed a culture of fundraising in the University, so they could move forward, ready to engage their community.
The project started with setting fundraising targets and priorities. A meeting with Lincoln University Foundation and University management established the most important fundraising tasks and informed messaging for their first annual appeal under the new plan.
We then recommended ways the Foundation structure could be improved to better manage gifting. This created the impetus for a new Foundation more aligned to the University’s future funding goals.
Other tasks included
- Development of policy and procedures.
- Identifying potential revenue streams.
- Supporting the internal team to get the most from their database. The University was implementing a new CRM to manage alumni and donors, so we helped them establish good processes and prepared it for mass mailouts.
- Implementing internal systems, like receipting.
- Establishing communication priorities and key messages.
It turned out to be a significant project for us, and we felt privileged to be able to implement best practice fundraising alongside the University and have our advice really listened to. Kate agrees.
REENGAGING MAJOR DONORS
We also helped reengage major donors with the University. This wasn’t always straightforward. Kate gives some context. “We hadn’t really engaged with our key alumni and key donors for quite some time. And when Barrer & Co went out to talk to them, some of them were openly frustrated, to be frank. Because we’d ignored them. They felt left out. They didn’t know what was going on at Lincoln.
“So, Barrer & Co had to win them over. They had to sell us back to our community. They had to have really honest conversations with both our supporters and the University. They helped us lay the foundation to rebuild those relationships.”
SETTING UP THE ANNUAL APPEAL
Our final task was to build Lincoln’s 2020 annual appeal. This was their first appeal in four years. So, it was designed to be a clear roadmap for future appeals. Everything was written and ready to go. Marketing material had been designed. We had mail quotes. The database was clean. The University were about to start recruiting a new team for the Alumni and Development Office, to run the appeal with our support. Then Covid-19 came along. Everything stopped.
Kate explains: “The University put a hold on all recruitment. We need those new people onboard to manage such a significant campaign. And we didn’t think it was the right time to be going out to our communities asking for money. So, we made the decision to put our 2020 appeal on hold.” “But we’re set up ready to go when we do need to go. Barrer & Co have provided us with policies, procedures, and templates. Their handover was amazing, files full of knowledge and processes. We feel well equipped to do everything ourselves.”
COVERING THE SPECTRUM FROM STRATEGIC TO PRAGMATIC
Kate sums up her experience of working with the Barrer & Co team.