GCF’s branding and admissions work for McLean School in Virginia continues to reap tremendous success. Four years ago the school was reaching an average of 320 enrollees. Now they are up to 405 and growing. Strong leadership, a clear marketing plan and creative work that gives McLean a unique voice has led to success.
Want great results? At GCF, we think you need to start with a great idea.
Barely one year into a three-year public phase, Mason is at 92% of its $500 million goal for its capital campaign and has secured several well-publicized principal gifts. More than 73% of viewers watched in full an online ad based on the campaign video.
Last fall we worked with The Mary Louis Academy, a private, Catholic school for young women in Jamaica Estates, New York. Enrollment at the school was dropping, girls were not listing TMLA as their first choice, and nearby co-ed schools were competing for and attracting girls who no longer seemed to want an all-girls education. We began in the admissions office to see what was working and what needed to change. We suggested how to approach new markets, how to increase campus visits, how to improve attendance at open house events, and more. With a vigorous admissions plan in hand, we then created a new website, print brochure, and graphic standards manual to ensure that all communications stayed on message.
Results as of February 2016 are remarkable. Students who selected TMLA as first choice rose by 50%. Second choice rose 11%. The story is ongoing but we can clearly see things are looking up at TMLA.
Last year when applications to law schools across the country were down by 6.7%, (ABA Journal, March 2015), a new website and marketing materials we created for Delaware Law School helped their admissions office achieve an 11% increase in applications. You can see the new site at Delaware Law School.
UPDATE: Delaware Law enrolled a first year class that was 6.5% up from 2015 and 31% larger than the 2014 entering class. Continued increases in enrollment – that’s success!
Rising to the Challenge, the Campaign for Johns Hopkins, is on pace to exceed its ambitious goals. With $3.7 billion in cash and pledges committed as of March 2016, the Campaign has increased its goal to $5 billion and has extended the campaign to June 2018.
McLean School reports a 50% increase in inquiries over last year. The new institutional identity and admissions materials designed by GCF contributed to this success. Other factors include the excitement generated by the new head of school, Michael Saxenian, and his leadership team and new programs such as the Student-Computing Initiative, Robotics, and Mindfulness.
Uniquely UB: The Campaign for the University of Baltimore, publicly launched in 2009, ended in 2012 with a new record for funds raised—$45 million. The campaign shattered the institution’s previous record for fundraising, almost doubling the amount of funds raised in a single, distinct capital campaign and exceeding its $40 million goal by 12 percent.
Temple magazine staff recently conducted a reader survey of the redesigned magazine. Reaction to the new look GCF created is overwhelmingly positive. Here are a few highlights from survey results:
“The cover blew me away and got me into the articles.”
“Surprise us again with the cover!!”
92 percent: Editorial content is “informative.”
84 percent: The magazine’s look is “attractive.”
52 percent: I will read Temple “more often” than I did in the past.
“Our alumni relations program is expanding its outreach, and improving the school’s web presence is a critical component. The research findings and benchmarking information presented in GCF’s Staying Connected: 100 Alumni Web Pages webinar validated our survey results and spurred our creativity to explore new avenues to engage our alumni and promote more interaction. Our external relations team and members of the marketing and communications staff participated in the webinar and found it useful to look at successful examples from a wide variety of institutions. I would recommend this to advancement professionals who want to broaden their understanding of effective online practices.” Deborah Hudson, Special Assistant for External Relations
“McDonogh is fully enrolled and inquiries are up, particularly in Upper School. Applications have remained stable in Upper School and Middle School, while lower in Lower School—but that is to be expected given the economy. We hear time and time again that our materials are beautiful and user-friendly.” Sara Mix, Associate Director of Admissions
GCF began working with Misericordia University in 2004 at the start of their $15 million campaign. We developed the campaign theme, campaign logo, and fundraising materials. We continued with the development of a new institutional logo, admissions materials, institutional website, and templates for internal use.
Applications, as well as full-time and part-time enrollment, are at the highest levels in university history, and improved SAT scores have allowed greater entering class selectivity.
The recently completed campaign exceeded its goal by nearly 30%, allowing the university to build the Sandy and Marlene Insalaco Hall that includes classrooms, a café, an art gallery, technology research institute, ensemble hall, and music teaching studios.
“The pieces are in their first full year of use and comments from parents, alumnae, students, and administrators are enormously positive. A team of recruiters travels among 200 feeder schools within our area for individual high school recruitment fairs, and at each and every location, prospective applicant families were instantly drawn to our materials, noting the professional presentation. More than just a few offered the same comparison, ‘An A+ school with an A+ book.’” Rita Piro, Coordinator of Special Projects, TMLA
Results are in from the Admissions Office at Widener University. Following the launch of the new communications branding campaign, freshmen applications increased by 44% and transfer applications rose by 62.6%. Early results indicate freshmen deposits are up 200% from this time last year.
The Campaign for UINDY closed with great success. The case statement, campaign identity, and campaign website GCF produced for UINDY have helped the University successfully conclude its most ambitious campaign ever. The campaign raised funds exceeding 50% of the original goal. Highlights include gifts from the Lilly Endowment, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the UINDY Board of Trustees. The campaign also won support from nearly 100,000 individuals, foundations, corporations, and organizations.
We worked with Central Institute for the Deaf on its five-year capital campaign, Giving Voice. Being Heard. At its closing, the campaign raised $32 million, exceeding the original goal of $30 million. GCF completed a comprehensive research phase with deliverables that included a case statement, new institutional logo, and branding materials including stationery items and campaign signage.
“CID is very proud of the quality of work that we received from you and even more proud to present such a product to our potential donors.” Donald W. Nielsen, former Executive Director, on CID’s campaign materials
“We were able to recruit and enroll the best qualified class in University history.” Susan Barge, former Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Vanderbilt University, on the new admissions materials
Note: In the year following the introduction of new admissions materials, applications more than doubled and early decision applications also increased. The travel brochure was so popular at college fairs that Vanderbilt requested a reprint a few months later for use as a mailed search piece.
“One of the marketing goals for admissions was to increase the number of visitors to campus—visits are up 69% compared to the same time period last year.” Bob Chonko, Director of Admissions, on results of Longwood University’s new recruitment materials
Note: Longwood University continues to report impressive admissions achievements. Applications increased 4%, deposits were up 13%, and the acceptance rate dropped by 7%. Early action applicants increased by 76%. The freshman profile showed a rise in both grade point average and SAT scores for the incoming class.
“…Your first piece of literature arrived: what extraordinary content, design, and vision all of your mailings display!” Prospective parent in a letter to Lorne Robinson, Dean of Admissions
Note: In its first year, the GCF publications program helped Macalester matriculate a freshman class with the highest percentage of full-paying students and the highest SAT scores in the College’s history.
The National Association of Independent Schools hired GCF to investigate and correct the problems parents and financial aid counselors were having with their application forms for financial aid. Many forms were returned incomplete and/or were completed inaccurately. GCF designed and conducted a series of surveys, phone interviews, and focus groups to assess the problems and help find the solutions. Following is a sampling of the feedback we received on the redesigned materials:
“Thank you, thank you. The new forms are easier to read, easier to understand, and I think will be easier for our parents to complete. Thanks for the change.” Mitzi Freeman, Shelton School
“BRAVO! It looks wonderful—appears to be much easier for parents and for the Business Office. Having the instructions booklet line-up with the form is inspired. (Could you outsource to the IRS?) Thanks for all your hard work!” Deborah Chen, Business Manager, Quest Academy
“I just received my new PFS sample for the coming year. Excellent! So much easier to read and understand. Thank you. My parents thank you, too.” Ginger Bell, Director of Admissions, The Brook Hill School
“I really like the new, less intimidating format of the forms. Overall, the form looks great—good job!” Dianne Ridings, Business Manager, Sycamore School
“As a former member of the SSS Committee, I applaud the new PFS form. What an improvement for parents and financial aid officers, as well as the processors. I find the new materials to be attractive and more user friendly. My guess is that parents will feel the same way. Thanks. I know that a lot of time and effort went into this greatly improved instrument.” Marion Jones Kennon, Assistant Director of Admissions, Director of Financial Aid, Breck School
“The new form and booklet came in the mail today and I am very impressed. It is very user friendly (although my eyes are getting older and the type is getting smaller!). Several of the changes make it much easier for the administrator. Thanks so much.” Irene H. Bernstein, Business Manager, Gross Schechter Day School
“The instruction booklet seems more user friendly. I hope more of our parents take the time to use it.” Barbara Vann, Hill School of Fort Worth
“The new design is terrific. Thank you.” Judy Kitchin, Abundant Life Christian School
“I would first like to compliment you on the revamped PFS and instructions. It is great to see the numbering flow more logically from the front of the PFS to the back. The instruction booklet format is wonderful in the way that it aligns with the PFS form. I think both of these changes will make the process of completing the PFS less difficult. I also love the inclusion of a response card so that parents will know that you have received their PFS.” Sherry Chapple, Business Manager, The Calverton School
“The viewbooks are stellar! I can’t tell you how many parents and prospective parents ‘get’ that the interactive viewbook parallels Orchard’s approach to learning…Even young children enjoy perusing the viewbook. That speaks to the playful nature of the book and its ability to capture the viewer’s curiosity. Your team was able to celebrate and capture the essence of Orchard!” Kristin Hein, Director of Admissions, The Orchard School
“By my rough calculations, the new site has endured more than 860 off-campus views (as well as 229 on-campus views) just great so far… Bottom line: it’s been a raging success so far. Onward and upward!” Tom Smith, Web Site Director, Union College, a few days after the launch of the College’s micro-site.
“Just wanted to say how wonderful your viewbook is! The photos, stories, and the ease of finding what we need to know with the want to know…what a big help! After doing the college search with our daughter last year and now with our son…it’s so good to get a viewbook such as yours—please commend whoever put it together.” Prospective parents
When the search piece was introduced, the response rate increased by 300% over the previous year. Mimi Crandall, Dean of Student Services and Marketing, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, on the College’s new admissions materials.
With the support of more than 16,000 contributors, Gettysburg College’s six-year fundraising campaign exceeded its $100-million goal. The Unfinished Work: Campaign for Gettysburg College reached a final total of $111.3 million, and approximately 60 percent of the total came from alumni.
“The Unfinished Work has been inspiring and fulfilling. It was very ambitious for us to set a goal of $100 million, but we were able to draw on a very broad base of support. Our alumni and friends understood that every gift was crucial, so they dug deep to support Gettysburg College. Their generosity will benefit students far into the future.” Chief Burton, National Chair and 1967 graduate of Gettysburg College.
The Campaign for UB: Generation to Generation raised $291.6 million, or $41 million over the $250 million goal. UB was the first State University of New York institution to set—and then surpass—such an ambitious goal, raising more than five times the amount brought by the university’s previous campaign. The Campaign for UB not only raised dollars, but also created a culture of giving that will be felt throughout the university community for years to come.
The campaign was called Generation to Generation, and its name did not disappoint. Our alumni emerged as the largest group of givers and younger alumni responded in impressive numbers, including many first-time givers.
We helped UVA with the second largest campaign ever completed by a public university (at time of completion). The goal at kickoff was $750 million; $1.43 billion was raised at conclusion. A total of 142,327 donors participated in the campaign; three quarters of these donors gave more than once over the course of the campaign.