To maximize development, schools' marketing and development departments must work well together, says one college public relations director.
At community colleges, this partnership is often overlooked because of miscommunication regarding responsibilities, messaging, planning, and audience, says Andrea Hanstein, former president of the National Council on Marketing and Public Relations and current director of marketing and PR at Foothill College in central California.
Developing and executing an integrated marketing plan
Breaking down silos may be difficult, but according to Hanstein, five strategies can nurture the relationship between development and marketing into a positive, productive one.
1. Open the lines of communication. The two departments "should pull in the same direction," so it is necessary to keep each other in the loop. Recurring meetings provide a base for sharing plans and building up a better relationship.
2. Become storytellers. Anecdotes "touch donor emotions" and demonstrate the difference their personal donation makes. Incorporating stories into marketing can support development's efforts to engage donors.
3. Include other university staff. Do not forget to ask coworkers from other departments to share their own stories as well. They can provide facts and lively content about various campus organizations to draw in donors.
4. Divide and conquer. Know your department's areas of expertise and specialize in them. Marketing departments should focus on messaging and branding to consistently represent the institution. Sharing stories from your school's foundation can turn them into fundraising opportunities.
Related: Fundraising activities of institutionally-related foundations
5. Recognize donors. Thanking donors is crucial to retaining support. Events such as a breakfast where they can see what their donations went toward can be a significant factor in getting them to donate again. This is especially true for corporate donors. Involving the marketing department ensures donors receive public recognition (Hanstein, Community College Daily, 11/3).
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