The Universities Australia Marketing, Communications and Development awards recognised excellence in marketing, communications and fundraising.

Universities Australia Marketing Communications and Development Awards

As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”, and this year’s challenges has taken necessity to a whole new level. The Universities Australia Marketing, Communications and Development (UAMCD) awards highlight the best of the best in marketing, communications, and fundraising. 

This year’s winners showcase some innovative and creative campaigns. 

“It’s fairly safe to assume that, as a result of COVID-19, nobody’s 2020 work plan looks much like it did back in January. Staff throughout Australia’s universities have quickly transitioned to a ‘new normal’ looking after the best interests of their students. 

“I congratulate all those whose work has been recognised in these awards and thank everyone for their hard work and dedication in such a demanding year,” says Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson, presenting the awards in an online ceremony. 

2020 UAMCD Award Winners 

Best Real-Time Response CommunicationsQueensland University of Technology, Emergency Student Fund Appeal 

This campaign won for its simple, straightforward, and effective real-time communications raising money to combat the demand for student financial assistance. Conceived and launched in just five days, the appeal went live as the first nation-wide lockdown was announced. The appeal raised double its target and was able to provide support to 338 students.  

Learn more about the Emergency Student Fund Appeal here 

Best Fundraising or Engagement Campaign – Large Team: The University of Queensland, COVID-19 vaccine acceleration project  

As COVID-19 was beginning to ramp up in February, the University of Queensland (UQ) committed to accelerating the development and manufacturing of a vaccine for COVID-19. They would receive $16.5 million from government and donors, on the premise that they would secure a further $6.5 million. UQ launched an appeal starting with a $100 gift card from local schoolchildren. In less than three months, the appeal exceeded its target, raising over $10 million from 2,600 individuals, foundations and corporations. Judges were impressed with how UQ overcame a critical funding gap with time sensitive, cautiously optimistic, factual and purposeful communication. 

Learn more about the University of Queensland’s COVID-19 vaccine. 

Best Fundraising or Engagement Campaign – Small Team: Western Sydney University, Giving Day 

Western Sydney University’s inaugural Giving Day event brought together digital, email, telephone and social media marketing channels to raise almost $770,000 from more than 820 donations. Funds raised will support scholarships, research and other programs at the university. Judges listed the range of projects that tapped into and positioned the university in the community. The Giving Day included the ‘Chancellor’s Challenge’ abseil, where high-profile members of the university community and friends abseiled from level nine of the university’s Peter Shergold Building in the heart of the Parramatta CBD. Overall, the campaign smashed its target by 52%.  

Best Marketing Campaign – Larger Budget: Charles Sturt University, ‘It’s What We Do’ campaign 

Charles Sturt University’s ‘It’s What We Do’ campaign won Best Marketing Campaign – Larger Budget for reshaping its programs and experiences and focusing on hands-on learning. Award judges believed the campaign successful based on demonstrated student insight and a clear target market. 

Best Marketing Campaign – Smaller Budget: Queensland University of Technology, QUTeX 

Queensland University’s QUTeX is a revolution in professional and executive education, designed to help students and organisations upskill and stay relevant. This marketing campaign aimed to position QUTeX as a leader in building customised education for the B2B markets in Queensland and Canberra. The judges were impressed by the use of “simple but effective” channels, including out-of-home advertising at airports, office towers, and simple creative messaging. This campaign resulted in the recruitment of a $2.2 million new, major client business. 

Best Proactive Communications: UNSW, Promoting packaging made from banana plants 

Only 12% of the banana plant is used; the rest is discarded. Researchers at UNSW have found a way to turn that waste into biodegradable ‘plastic’ bags. UNSW won this award category by turning a quirky news story into a compelling communications strategy. Telling the story of the university’s reputation for innovation, this campaign leveraged national and international interest to deliver tangible value and attract new leads for investment and funding. 

Universities Australia Marketing Communications and Development Awards

Associate Professor Jayashree Arcot, Professor Martina Stenzel and researcher Kehao Huang from UNSW

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