Cherry Blossoms

Advancement Communications for Departments

Do you create websites, newsletters, or emails for your department? Do you organize events or talk to alumni? This page provides a quick overview of advancement communications to help you understand how your activities fit into fundraising and donor engagement.

Key Takeaways

  1. You don’t have to be a fundraiser, but you can still support fundraising.
  2. During the next phase of the campaign (summer 2018-), a push for participation creates opportunity for departments.
  3. Share what you have with the College's marketing team – content you’ve created or compelling story kernels that we can develop or push to UMAC.
  4. Use existing vehicles (newsletter, giving page, social media) to drive online giving.

Advancement Toward... What?

Progressive Relationship Pyramid
(click to enlarge)

Most of the work you do as departmental staff supports the bottom layers of the pyramid. This is often referred to as "broad-based engagement."

How Do You Fit In?

  • You have the inside track on stories
  • You have proximity to students and faculty
  • You already create a variety of content
  • You have audiences who care
  • You don’t have to be a fundraiser, but you can help create opportunities for giving

So what does this look like practically?

Practical Application

Much of the work you are already doing can be shaped to support giving opportunities.

On the Web:

  • Rework language on ‘Support Us’ page to include succinct articulation of campaign priorities
  • Repurpose philanthropy-tinged content in your Recent News section, when appropriate


  • Incorporate stories of students or faculty who have benefitted from philanthropy
  • Encourage Chair to frame priorities in Chair’s letter/note in newsletters
  • Include one-time section on your unit’s vision for the future

Across All Communications:

  • Include consistent ‘key messages’ across communications – in posters, newsletters, talking points, etc.
  • Incorporate aspirational language – point to future of the department when possible
  • Call-out philanthropy where it exists

Annual Philanthropy

The UW's annual philanthrophy team was recently reorganized and new positions added. They are developing a new focus on digital communications, data, and segmentation. A university-wide "giving day" is being planned for March 2019. There will be an opportunity for units/departments to participate. Stay tuned for more information about solicition strategies and tools coming from annual philanthropy.


Still have questions?

Contact the College of Arts & Sciences Assistant Director for Advancement Communications - Luke Hawkins