Howard University

Alumni Fundraising Campaign

Howard University faced a tough problem. Not enough alumni were giving back to their alma mater, and that meant less money for scholarships and other vital programs. It also hurt Howard’s reputation, as alumni giving is a key factor in rankings. The lower the rankings, the less pride alumni felt about their school. And the less proud they felt, the less they gave. It was a downward spiral.

But then something amazing happened. In April 2016, the White House announced that President Obama would deliver the commencement speech at Howard. What a terrific opportunity to rally alumni around their school and inspire them to give!

As Blue State Digital’s Strategy Director, I worked with Howard to create an email fundraising program that tapped into the pride and passion of alumni. I developed a comprehensive research, positioning, and messaging strategy to find out what made Howard special, and used that to craft messages that resonated with alum’s hearts.

The results were phenomenal. By the end of the campaign, we raised 66% more money than the previous year, with 21% more donors and 61% more total donors. The campaign was so effective that Howard adopted our messaging and tactics as the basis for their future fundraising efforts.


Howard University

Skills Involved

  • Branding
  • Strategy
  • Communications planning
  • Positioning