A few years ago, "integrated marketing" was a hot phrase in education. A worthy goal, it remains difficult to achieve. Increasingly, we now hear another integrative mantra in the same hallways:
The goal? Weaving alumni relations, development and communications into a cohesive, collaborative team.
In April, CASE's three Commissions asked, "what does it take to integrate the advancement disciplines?" CASE staff members sat in, took notes, and participated in the conversations.
The initial discussion generated a provocative list of drivers of integration. The brief points below capture a fraction of the conversation. In no particular order, here are 10 of the suggestions I recorded during the meeting:
1. Learn about integration from small shops (e.g., those with just one or two staff members). They are, in effect, already integrated – because "everyone does everything."
2. Start at the top. Senior leaders must commit to improving their working relationships with each other if they expect staff below them on the org chart to work collaboratively.
3. Use more data and fewer anecdotes.
4. Teach and model the integrated vision during the recruitment and training of new team members.
5. Jointly develop a unified strategy for advancement – not just separate alumni relations, fundraising, and communications strategies.
[Want to integrate advancement?
Use more data and fewer anecdotes.]
6. Seek out and celebrate small victories. Large-scale change takes time.
7. Create cross-silo teams that design integrated programs. If teams are separate, involve members of each others' staffs early in the planning process.
8. Think of alumni officers as development officers, and vice versa (e.g., do alumni staff file trip reports to aid in cultivation or research?).
9. Don't treat alumni relations and development as clients of marketing and communications. They're partners.
10. "Move out" staff members – and volunteers – who don't actively support integration.
Note: These aren't my ideas. These are comments made by advancement professionals from a wide variety of institutions.
And of course, there are many other approaches to making advancement teams more effective through collaboration.
How do you foster an integrated approach to advancement?
How would you rank or evaluate the ideas above?
What would you add to this list?
Leave a comment.