Strategic and well-planned faculty/staff campaign launch events can be an incredible way to engage your campus community and spread campaign core messages. These events can set the tone for the campaign and may well be the first opportunity for your institution to publicly lay out campaign priorities and progress to date on securing campaign gift commitments to fund them. In addition to your organization’s primary campaign launch event, designated events for faculty and staff can be a terrific way to get buy-in and build campaign momentum.
Below are BWF consultants’ recommendations for successful faculty/staff campaign launch events.
- Plan well ahead and then plan some more. Thinking about campaign launch events well in advance and planning out the details can make or break the day. Your attendees will likely be able to tell if the event is thrown together at the last minute. This could kick the campaign off on a bad foot with many of your most important advocates.
- Free food, free drinks, free anything! The best way to attract faculty and staff members (or anyone for that matter) is free food and beverages. Not only will this improve attendance, but it will also give attendees an opportunity to socialize with each other, campaign staff and volunteers, and special guests.
- Timing is everything. The timing of your event could make or break its success. Avoid Friday and evenings to minimize personal conflicts for faculty and staff members. Early afternoon (say, with lunch) or mid/late afternoon will give faculty and staff members an excuse to “play hooky” and enjoy the event. Additionally, fall is a great time of year to get everyone back together when students are back on campus.
- Communication is key. Successful communication will be important for your event, both at the invitation stage as well as the day of the event. The invitation should come from the president with follow-up by deans, department leaders, and selected professors and staff members. Strong turnout will require thoughtful and multi-channel publicity with advance notice and multiple follow-ups. Announcing the campaign goal on campus to faculty, staff, and even students first will generate excitement and foster a sense of ownership and stake in the campaign. Unfolding a large banner with the campaign dollar goal can be an exciting way to reveal the goal. Campaign branding should be used at the event and around campus.
- Get your “big players” involved. Enlisting the attendance and involvement of some “big players,” such as key faculty and staff members or highly regarded doctors, can boost attendance and cultivate key partnerships for the duration of the campaign. Better yet, if you can involve these individuals in the planning process, you’ll not only have access to tremendous feedback but can also expect greater buy-in.