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Looking to grow your school or university fundraising? Here are 11 themes to use in your appeals, from US annual giving expert Bob Burdenski.

This article was originally published in August 2017.

Chicago is home but I’m in Australia at least once per year, and always here to talk about annual and regular giving ideas and strategies. I’ve written three books on the subject for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and I’m always on the lookout for new and effective appeal messages. Australia is as good a source as anywhere.

However, one thing I often observe when I visit, is a strong – often single – emphasis on describing institutional needs in appeals. That’s not to dismiss the importance of well-articulated needs – we wouldn’t need donors if we didn’t have needs. Yet our needs aren’t the only useful fundraising message.

The donor’s needs are just as important, and two different donors might respond to very different messages. Digital and online fundraising increasingly liberates our ability to explore a variety of themes and messages, so it’s increasingly important to consider your possibilities.

Chocolate cake is…
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