Campaign Launches: The Engagement Continuum
Beyond deciding if a campaign’s public launch will be in-person or online, planning teams must determine how to leverage all of the engagement tools at their disposal to reach diverse audience groups. The ultimate goal: activating and re-enforcing intersections of long-lasting connection.
- Recognize and thank the lead donors who created such a strong start
- Spark interest and inspire the next tier of donors to join in with their support
- Communicate the campaign’s goals to the entire Rhody community
- Celebrate the collective efforts that have elevated URI across generations
While an integrated communications plan was already in development, once it was determined that an in-person public launch would be delayed it became clear that a more comprehensive engagement initiative was needed.
Leveraging many of the university’s existing outreach vehicles, Level5 Events worked with URI Foundation and Alumni Relations partners to develop a multi-channel approach to achieving the intended goals of the launch.
The first step, as always, was to identify target audiences; understanding existing connection points and anticipating where new intersections might occur. Through discovery conversations, key groups emerged:
- Lead donors
- Prospective donors across giving levels
- General alumni base
- Broader URI community
A parallel track determined the stories to tell as part of the launch activities and how they might be shared within the campaign’s message framework. The content needed to paint a complete picture of URI today while showcasing the innovations possible through a successful campaign, including:
- URI’s response to COVID-19, from the creation of Rhody Blue hand sanitizer to alumni first-responders
- Recent campus expansion efforts and the individuals who made them possible
- Specific campaign initiatives and their impact on URI’s future
- Calls to Action that allowed the entire Rhody community to find themselves in the campaign’s success
The beats of the campaign’s engagement plan came together as a multi-week integrated flow, connecting audiences with the most resonant stories through vehicles that provided easy and entertaining access points:
- Coverage in the university magazine officially launching the campaign to the general alumni base
- Campaign website featuring stories that showcase initiatives and progress
- PR campaign announcing the campaign to local and industry media, including URI’s social outlets
- Outreach by development and alumni affairs staff to generate interest and add a personal touch
- Online VIP launch event hosted by two URI alumni who are broadcast personalities and featuring a campus tour, interviews with the university president and campaign leadership and a finale musical performance by a recent graduate
- Email blast of the launch event recording to invitees as a way to underscore the campaign’s impact
- Smaller online gatherings to allow enhanced access to URI researchers and glitterati
- Follow-up communications to certain groups that feature content specific to their interests
The more times constituents are exposed to campaign messaging and the stories that illustrate it, the “stickier” and more ingrained it becomes. This coordinated exposure can provide the touchpoints that hit the mark and develop a shared sense of experience. In particular, digital interactions provide the ability to witness your audiences’ choices in real-time. Each click, every moment spent online can and should be tracked. By developing more robust feedback loops you’ll be able to assess the success of specific activity and swivel accordingly. These ripples will result in calls to action that feel tailored to your audiences, inspiring engagement that is authentic and productive.