Utica, New York

Despite the pandemic, campaign planning and the onboarding of new team members in Advancement at Utica University continued to move forward. As work progressed, it became clear to leadership that the team could benefit from both team building (once pandemic-related restrictions were lifted) and skill building in the area of communications, but from a fundraiser’s perspective.

Utica University leadership wanted to help its gift officers better understand their role as brand ambassadors, and in that vein, to be equipped with the communications skills to be successful. The workshop provided an important professional development opportunity for the entire team, one that went beyond a focus on fundraisers employing the mechanics of that role. Skill building as communicators was an important outcome for leadership.

Utica University retained BWF to facilitate a daylong, on-campus Fundraising Communicators Workshop. A series of modules exposed participants to topics such as product knowledge, competitive analysis, consultative persuasion, communication styles, and brand identity and storytelling. The modules were designed to be interactive and thus included exercises designed to put information into practice. Following the workshop, the fundraising team began immediately utilizing their new knowledge and employing the skills they’d developed.

We knew that the ever-changing and increasingly competitive fundraising landscape was requiring a new approach to our work compelling and inspiring donors. It was not enough to simply distinguish a donor-centric strategy from a focus on organizational priorities. The Fundraising Communicators Workshop helped our team build that bridge between our donors’ passions and the critical needs of our institution. More than that, the daylong session engaged and fostered idea sharing across the entire team.
Kelly Adams
Vice President for Presidential Affairs and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer • Utica University