The challenge of creating effective annual giving solicitations year-in and year-out is telling essentially the same story again and again, but always differently and always well.
At Kelsh Wilson, we believe the answer lies in diving deeply into the life and work of the school. When we seek out stories of teaching and learning, of innovation, and of student achievement, we find evidence that speaks straight to the hearts and minds of donors.
As Kelsh Wilson helped the Nichols School in Buffalo, NY, to develop its most recent series of annual fund communications, our source of inspiration was the school’s strategic plan. We asked where Nichols had made exciting strides toward its published goals, and we found stories of growth and progress—and of educators enriching the lives of students.
One of the year’s appeals focused in on Nichols’ Entrepreneurial Studies program, another on its exemplary service-learning offerings, a third on leadership development experiences. All included quotes, photos, and interesting stories—in brief.
In each case, we presented content specific enough to be interesting, but with a broader point: Nichols is engaged in exciting, important work. The impact on students is clear, the partnership of donors, essential.
In the world of annual giving, there may be nothing new under the sun. But by writing skillfully about the right themes, great schools can tap a limitless supply of donor-motivating content. And those right themes all trace back to the same origin. It’s force that connects stakeholders to an institution in the first place: its mission.