32: Funding a 10-Figure Capital Campaign at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign w/ Jon Salvani

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Jon Salvani, Director of Advancement and Team Lead for Chicago Regional Advancement Team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, discusses how to game plan for a 10-figure capital campaign using key market approaches, creative fundraising opportunities, advancement ambassadors, and more.

You're listening to enrolment growth,university from helicks education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Romant at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh endromant growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to anroman growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect Ediu podcast network imeric,Walson AVP of marketing, ATD heelics education and were here today with JohnSelbony, director of advancement and team lead for Chicago RegionalAdvancement team at the University of Illinois at Orbana. Champagne JohnWelcome to the show thanks EREC thanks for having me John, and I were formercolleagues together at Louis University near Chicago, and I'm super excited totalk with him today about his work at the University of Illinois and howthey're approaching a ten figure capital campaign. But before we diginto that John, can you get the listeners a little bit betterunderstanding of both your role and the University of Illinois Yeah? So theUniversity of Illinois, AOR, Bana, Champagne, UIT's the flag shipinstitution here at the State of Illinois, are Lane Grant University.You know located in Urbana Champagne, central Illinois here in the state ofIllonois, my role as director of advancement in team lead. I managed ourChicago Regional Advancement Program for the urbanash champagne campus, soour charge is to do fundraising, alumni engagement here in the Chicago area. Wehave a third of our alumni base over a hundred and seventy thousand alums herein the city and the surrounding suburbs, and the eight collor counties soobviously a very daunting task, but that's our teams charge and we'relocated actually in downtown Chicago at our Lini Center, which is our regionaloffice for the university awesome John, as a public are one school only Ahaut,twelve percent of your funding comes from the state devill in the way talkabout at high level, how critical philanthropic giving is to augment inRoman Revenue Yeah. You know it is huge for us, a D and I'm not even just forthe University of Illinois in general, but a lot of our state. Our state peersare also savg. The importance of that you know philanthropic, giving is whatreally helps us create funding opportunities to REC students. You knowa n not even just recruiting students but retaining students, whether it's inthe form of scholarships or or program funding, Bhut also even you'. Take thatat the faculty level of this gives the gote gives an opportunity for us torecruit key faculty members to the university through professorshipsthrough endowed chairs. So philanthropy is, is a huge part of what we're tryingto do since the state of Illinois and one of the things that I think is athought out there. That most people believe is that the state of Illinoisprovides the university a majority of its funding and that's not really thecase and over the last fifteen years.

You know h that revenue has decreasedover time, and so in order to fill that gap, philanthropyis going to be very important and luckily, for many of us working inthese rules and identifying the opportunities with donors, it gives notjust the donor the opportunity to make that impact here at our university, butit allows us to be able to provide those impact opportunities to thestudents and faculty and the recipients of that generosity. Your currents withIllinois campaign is a two and AD quarter billion dollar capital campaign,as you're planning that out from an allocation standpoint from a goalsetting standpoint. Where do you envision it all? Coming from betweensmall and large gifts, new donors versus existing donors, alums versusyou know, corporations and estate gifts? How do you create a game plan for howthis is all going to happen? That's a very good question Eric. You know it isa I mean two and a quarter billion. I mean that's a daunting number. This isprobably the biggest fundraising campaign that I've been a part of in mycareer. Obviously this is the two and a quarter billion dollar campaign is justfor the University of Illinois or Bana Champagne that doesn't include theother universities within the University of Illinois System Right. Sothat's just for US Heredor Bana, and that is, as you can see, a prettydaunting number. So there's a lot of a lot of strategy involved. You know wejust went into the public phase of our campaign this past October, so we gotfive years remaining to this campaign, and so we've been in silent phase nowfor the last few years and luckily for us at this point now we're about halfway to our goal. N- andthat's that's big right. Oh actually, I would say probably over halfway at thispoint. So for us you know planning this out. You know setting your goals. Our operation is a very centralizeddecentralized bottle where you have a centralized udit like byself, whichsupports the entire campus, all of our colleges, all of our academic unitsdegree granting Don debete granting even athletics. We work based uponthose units who have their own advancement shops. So many of ourindividual colleges have their own advancement team working in them solelyfor their college. You know IAND for their units, and so we have to workclosely with them in order to make sure that what we're trying to do is alsomeeting their fundraising priorities and what their goals are for thecampaign. You know: Where do we envision it all? Coming from all overthe place you kno from from our recent grads to our established seasonprofessionals out there who are graduates from our institution from ourcorporate partners? You know one of the things we're trying to do more of herein Chicago is connecting with our corporations and using our alumniouschampions in those efforts you know, and a lot of it is I, with our existingdonors, asking them to if they would consider making another gift in supportof our campaign in order to help us achieve that goal. We have a group inour foundation Eric that that helps us...

...with gift planning and estate gifts.You know everything from your bequests and remembering us in your will, to you,know: Ways that we coun make charitable gift, anuities or charitable remaindertrusts work for those donors interested in doing that. There's plenty ofopportunities there, where we can were closely with our donors to make thatexperience, not just easy for them, but in a way where they feel that it'sagain going back to impact and making it impactful not just for them but forthe recipients of their generosity. So it's going to really come fromeverywhere and you know you asked about creating a game plan ond how this isgoing to happen. A lot of folks involved. You know this is thiscampaign cannot be solely done by one or two people right. So there arehundreds of folks who are involved in this from a marketing standpoint from adonor strategy standpoint to a to just even getting the message out thereabout our our campaign. So creating a game plan is important, but obviouslythere's a lot of factors and parts in that and and that campaign plan isalways I consider Eric pretty fluid. You know you never know what can happentwo years from now. You know back in the early twosands who would havethought that we would have had a market crash, or you know, a com bubble, bursor anything else like that right. So you know a lot of those plans, eventhough we think it's a great plan now, two years from now it may need someadjusting. You know some of the plans that we had here just Ino Chicago twoyears ago, meed adjusting now because we've had some. You know some newopportunities pop up some changes where we've got some new support comingthrough, and you know changing our game planning strategy. So I think there's alot of moving parts, but ultimately, at the end, everybody's got the same goalof mind. We need to make that campaign a success. Let's talk about your keymarket approach for fundraising and the specific team that you're over, so athird of vouof is alumni base is located in the Chicago Metro area. Howdo you think about targeting not just individuals but an entire city yeah?You know, and that's one of the reasons why our team is in place here about Gosh Eric, I want to say about sixyears ago there was talk from the university about expanding our presencein Chicago. We had this Alini Center here for at the time close to six seven years.You know it was one of those opportunities where we knew our Chicagomarket needed more attention, and so for us it was creating a team here, anatual team we used to have developed. We had development officers here, but alot of them were either unit based, or we probably had maybe one or two thatwere specifically in a central type role like we are today, so it was firsthaving the dedication to and support to create a team here andthen putting a team in place which my predecessor at the time brought me onboard here, and then we brought on a couple other folks and more developmentofficers, and our charge was basically to be theboots on the ground. Here in the...

Chicago area, we ended up bringing youon a marketing and communication professional specifically charged withnot just helping for the marketing an communication for the university andworking with our advancement office and our public affairs office, but his keystrategy is to how do we do that here more effectively in Chicago and that'snot just from a billboard perspective or signs across the city? It's? How dowe work with our media partners? How do we work with the newspapers, televisionand all that to make sure our messageis coming across? So you know, my team isin charge of doing that. I have development officers and administrativeprofessionals here that help me where our charges to go in and do fun raisinghere in Chicago, we manage our Lumni Ambassador Board, our LINEIGTLeadership Council. You know things like that to make sure we're gettingthe message out and again. You know when you talk about a hundred andseventy thousand alams here in the Chicago area. Third of our alumni basebeing here in the Chicago Metropolitan area. It's going to take a lot morethan just you know, a small team to really do that, and so for us to parterup with our campus colleagues and friends. There in champagne gives usthe opportunity to not just do our own touchpoints but work with them to dotheir touchpoints as well to try to cover as much as we can not just herein the city but throughout the surrounding suburb. So it is a dauntingtask, but we are very fortunate that we have the support of our seniorleadership there on campus to make that possible here in Chicago, and everybodyunderstands the importance of us being able to make sure we continue keepingour presence here in the Chicago area. Strong. You mentioned how how criticalmarketing is from a brandand marking perspective this this campaign isn't aone off creative execution at your marketing team. Your Central Markcomteam is treating this for what it is: A massive marketing campaign. Whatparticular marketing support are you looking for from your central unit inorder to be successful? Yeah, you know one of the things we we continue totalk about weekly. In fact, I just had a conversation about this yesterday ishow do we continue to just keep the message relevant and and out there andHin now that we've embarked on this with Illinois campaign? You know, oneof the things we need to have is a vessel for continued marketing messagesabout the campaign out here, whether it is campaign launch events, which iswhat we're thinking about doing throughout the country. We did one herein Chicago back in December, which was, I thought, very successful, greatmessage coming out there and not not us asking them to give money while theywere there, but to show them what the with Illinois campaign is all about andif they would hopefully consider at some point wanted to support it right.So things like that, having our billboards, you know something assimple as billboards across some of our major major interstates and majorintersection points here within the city, ind suburbs, to make sure thatpeople are still seeing Illinois out there and strategically placing them inspots where you know it feels like they're, seeing us all over the place,but we're at the same time we're just...

...moving the signs all around Weyou knowit's things like that right, but being able to not just do that, but to beable to have our campus, our campus colleagues and friends, continuing tohave a presence here. You know making themselves visible, it's all aboutvisibility for us because, as we all know, especially for folks who are inthe marketing arena, it's all about visual and perception right and beingable to you know if you they see it more, they know about it more. You knowthey may tend to even look into it even more right. So I think for us andluckily for us, we have a campaign marketing strategic group down oncampus whos Sol purpose at to really get out there and make sure the messageis coming across and not even just as a Central University apartering up withour colleges and having that message consistent with the individual collegesand units there on campus, and then you know a lot of at roles up to what we'retrying to do here in Chicago. So you know that type of support is what welook for. You know nd, and we also return that favor to them. You knowhelp of them and partnering up with them in order to, for us to, you know,have an effective strategy, especially here in Chicago, because you know, asyou talked about it, is a marketing. It is a massive marketing campaign. Youknow we rebranded just recently here at the university and and moved everythingfrom a branding standpoint to our Orange Block Ey, which is whateverybody typically associates, that that logo to the university right, yeahsure our marketing campaign or ar, I should say our campaign itself. Ourfundraising campaign is the first big initiative at the university that issolely using the orange block eye in the logo and all the campaign andmarketing materials. So there's a lot of just like anything else, a lot ofmoving parts, but that's the kind of support we look for so that way, theright the brand continues to stay strong, but at the same time, gives usan opportunity to to send the message out about our campaign to everybodyaround here, because again, it's going to hit a lot of people, you know andhopefully make that impact that we look for. I know that your advancementambassadors, those who are givers themselves, are such a vital part ofyour campaign strategy. Yeah. How do you intentionally empower yourambassadors with the the messaging? They need the brand value props, thethe academic points of view, the vision that you're thet you're, aiming for inorder O to be effective ambassadors yeah. You know over the last Gosh EricI want to say over the last eleven years we've had this group called theAlini Leadership Council. It is a group of, as you just mentioned, alumniambassadors, who'se alumni, abancement ambassadors. I should say who solpurposes really help us Furtherour advancemen mission, especially here inthe Chicago area. These are very passionate individuals, folks who haveour major gift donors themselves right. They understand the importance ofadvancement, they get it so their charge is to get out there and help usspread the advancement message around...

...if they're in their network, so whichis really one of the big big advantages of this group, because this group isvery well connected here in the Chicago land area, so they can introduce us tofolks within their network. They've got a lot of loves, WHO HAVE COME BACK tothem and said: Hey we've always wanted to help the university just didn't knowhow to do it. There are starting point right and then they can make thoseunnecessary introductions either to me or to focs on my staff or folks here atthe university you know that's their charge and it's so important to havethem, especially when you 'ere in a campaign mode, because, as I mentionedearlier, we've been in the silent phase of our campaign for the last few years,this group we've been constantly reporting to themwith the Status Ofer. The campaign, things that are going on, where we'reat so they've actually been in the know about some of the stuff we've beenworking on within the silent face, and that was important because they canunderstand how we evolved into now the public phase of this campaign, and soyou know it is very important, empowering them with the informationthey need to go out there. So we meet three times a year. Eric and and thosemeetings are pretty robust meetings. We have them meeting with universityofficials and were talking senior leadership roles, so everything fromdeens to the provose to the chancellor senior directors that have that play a big part in many of thethings that are going on here at the university. So they can get updated onthings, everything from admissions to student affairs, to college updates toour alumni association ar new alumni alliance. There is just they get so much good information thatthey can take back and hear it and then sometimes they it moves them where theyfeel like they can help them out and introduce those particular folks to tocontext within the Chicago area that could help them out. And so it's such awidwin opportunity for them to come out there as alumni advancement ambassadorsfor us to get that key message going and know that we've got that trustedgroup going out there and and spreading the Illinois love to to the folks thatthey want to share it with and then be able to answer questions. And so youknow for us and rea for me personally, because I work very closely with thisboard. It is important for them to be able to understand and know the keymessages that are being shared out there and for them to be in the now.Not only makes them feel proud, even more, even more proud of, what's goingon here at the university and being a Probalem, but they also feel veryempowered at that point to be able to share that information and feel veryconfident knowing that they know who they can talk to and work with, to helpus get the job done out here may thisis such a good idea. John. Are there anyparticularly creative or unique or new ways, you're looking to try to solicitbig gifts from donors? You know offering naming rights or an othernovel approaches. Yeah. You know. One of the things that we're reallystarting to embark on here at the...

...university is a lot of renovationprojects. We've got as you coald imagine Ha Universeitu has been aound,sincne, eigten ND, sixty seven. We got some old buildings, some old buildings, where some of ourolder alums, if they come back to visit campus, go into the building, and itlooks the same way that it's looked when they were when they were there atschool. You Know Eric there there's a lot of great opportunities that andcreative ones that we're trying to do more of now. Where we're a lot of it isbuilding renovations. You know, opportunities to name a space w andthat space would be in perpetuity. You know for the life of the building,really you know they get. They get the opportunity O do that. Some some getthe opportunity to be a part of some new construction. Yeah, that'sgoing up like our marching a line. I just have a new instructional towerthat went up on their practice field donors have the opportunity to gettheir name placed on that tower. That's a new initiative, that's something thathadn't been done before, because so it's things like that, where we offercreative new ways to do that, we, you know part of our campaign. You know isscholarship. You Know d getting some new scholarships, so our college ofEngineering, for example, has an engineering visionary scholarshipprogram where their charge is to raise a hundred million dollars forscholarships for College of Engineering Students there at Illinois. You knowit's things like that: Creative ways to to showcase that there's a way to makean impact here and F for you to be able to do so in a large manner. You know ina six or seven figure manner. You know everything from those those namedspaces to name scholarships, professorships chairs fellowships youname it and I think now the fun part is that a lot of our colleges are findingcreative ways for us to be able to do that and give those opportunities toour donors. So not only does it benefit the college and unit receiving thatgenerosity right. It also helps our campaign. It also helps the universityin general and such a winwind for everybody. So those are all types ofcreatede ways and, like I told you, I mean against two three years from now.I couldn't look even if foryea you know, we may have more projects in thehorizon, and you know a lot of that stuff with the long term plan, but youknow creative, wise and fun ways to do it. Yeah we've definitely been able toto open up some new opportunities for our donors to be involved and be, andto make that impact will give to to the university. It's awesome, John forinstitutions who are a few years behind you chronologically in terms of wherethey are at, I their capital campaign, any next step, recommendations for themwho are about to embark on this. You know tendigic capital campaign, howthey should approach the task strategically yeah. Well ant, a lot of patience, a you knowagain like we talked about it, you know campaign of that size, there's a lot ofmoving parts right. You know understanding what the campaignpriorities are not just for your institution but for all the thecolleges and units that are going to be a part of thatcomprehensive campaign. I think it's always keeping that O thatcommunication open. You know...

...everybody's going to have theirthoughts and ideas of what they want to have in their campaigns. You know, andthere's always going to be, that dream of you know the ideal situation forthem. If e they were to embark into a campaign and and what it would coverand understanding that there is going to be a lot of moving parts to it, butto have that patience and to really strategically think about it, how doyou not just not just determining what your fundraising goal is because that'salways important, but how are you going to achieve that? What's the marketingplan, you know what are you, how are you going to get the message out there?Who are you going to work with? How Does Your Donor Pyramid look? Are yougoing to be? Is this a realistic goal? Is this a stretch goal typicallycampaigns or stretch goals, and so you know who do you know that you can reachout to you to help? You know make that stretch gift or gifts? I should say youknow to help achieve that goal, and so I think, there's a lot of a lot of strategy involved in that andkeeping that open communication going and continuing to have that ongoingcommunication. Once you launch your campaign, not just after the silentphase type thing and going in there and continuing to have those conversationsonce you go into the public launch because that's when it really starts tomake a difference because you're going out there now and it's become live it'sout there for people to see, and so I think that having that thought process and thenjust have fun with it, you knowis. Just No. You know it's no different from rour typical advancement daily, routine right, going out there and cultivatingand building those relationships- and you know, with campaigns, are going tobe starting to build a lot of newer relationships, which I find to be thefun part of the job. You know it's half fun with it, because if again, ifyou're having fun with it, you do the job right. You'll meet your campaingoal: You'll meet the CAMPAIG and hopefully blow away your campaign Gol,and so I think this those points, just youknow from a strategic standpoint, just keep that communication line open andjust keep talking, because there's going to be wasts to continue tweakingto help make that campaign a success, John Thanks. So much for sharing suchgreat thoughts today. What is the best place for listeners to connect with youif they have any followed questions? Yeah, you know the best place toconnect with me would be through linkon connect with me on Lingkdton, that'sJohn Jon Salvoni S. Al Va and I you know, feel o free to connect with me onLinkedin. Send me a message and would love to share contact, information andand and same for me, I'd love to share some Info D, and here what otherinstitutions are doing, because we're all we're all in this together. It's agreat learning experience for everybody, so I'm always open to hearing some somenew thoughts and ideas that you know would be helping myself as well. So I think Thi's somegreat opportunity there. So yeah linked in would probably be the best way toconnect with me awesome thanks again so much for joining us today, John andbest of luck with the rest of the campaign bank. Eric appreciateit thanksfor your time to attracting today's new post,traditional learners means adopting new enrolmant strategies. Keelicseducations data driven enterprise, wide...

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