With GG+A, There is No Advancement Learning Curve

The most successful advancement programs have at least one thing in common: communications that are strategically informed, deftly orchestrated, and superbly produced.

Achieving that trifecta requires uncommon attention to every pertinent factor: Defining a compelling institutional vision, for example. Knowing which messages resonate with specific audiences. Collaborating across functions and units to develop plans that advance everyone’s goals. Using social media and digital marketing to drive fundraising results. Developing distinctive, powerful communications that command attention and inspire action.

GG+A’s communications consultants live at the intersection of advancement and strategic marketing communications. They know both worlds—and how to integrate them for maximum effect. Having led marketing communications and development communications programs in the nonprofit, private, and public sectors, they bring a rare perspective to the advancement table.

We understand your challenges inside and out.

Savvy Communications Can Turbocharge Your Advancement Operation

The most successful advancement programs have at least one thing in common: strategically informed, deftly developed communications. Makes sense, but how to get there?

How to define the institution’s vision and translate it into compelling fundraising priorities? How to staff and organize the advancement office for campaign success? How to identify critical opportunities to boost performance? How to develop a multi-phase campaign communications plan? How to know which messages are most effective? How to use social media and digital marketing to drive fundraising results? How to write a case statement or major-gift proposal that persuades both heart and mind?

We understand challenges like these inside and out. Let’s talk.

Our Services

Unlike communications-only firms, we live at the intersection of communications and advancement. Products and services include:

Case for support and proposal development

A compelling case for support is vital to fundraising success. We partner with clients to develop case statements that motivate donors by articulating a strategic vision, a rationale for philanthropy, and attractive giving opportunities. We can also assist by drafting white papers and major gift proposals that present a specific giving opportunity within an institutional context, nuanced to appeal to the prospect’s interests and motivations. Developing cases and proposals involves interviews with stakeholders and in-depth consultation with leaders on positioning and messaging.

Communications program reviews and benchmarking

In-depth evaluations can help clients build effective development and advancement communications programs. Grounded in best practice, our reviews focus on strategic planning and priorities, messaging, strategies and tactics, management and organization, and resources. The reviews can be supplemented by benchmarking analysis against peer institutions.

Institutional visioning and priority-setting

Ensuring that strategic priorities are aligned with fundraising opportunities is essential for maximizing philanthropic impact. Through a collaborative, multi-stage process that engages senior institutional leaders and key stakeholders, we can help clients define their vision and determine the philanthropic priorities that will galvanize support.

Strategic communications plans

Communicating effectively with key constituents during each distinct phase of a campaign or fundraising initiative is a complex process. We help guide clients by developing communications plans that identify the goals and provide a blueprint for the optimal outreach strategies, tactics, and vehicles that will ensure effective communication with all key audiences.

Strategic messaging

A philanthropic messaging framework enables a consistent, disciplined approach to conveying strategically important messages through a range of channels and vehicles. These frameworks provide a structured set of messages that articulates a fundraising proposition by identifying core and supporting points, aimed at key audiences. Structured messaging can be useful for campaigns, annual giving programs, alumni engagement initiatives, and other fundraising efforts.

Fundraising and engagement message testing

Through partnership with the GG+A Survey Lab, we test the appeal of the substance and language of clients’ philanthropic messaging using quantitative and qualitative studies. Our rigorous methodology produces reliable data on constituent interests, opinions, preferences, and priorities. The process can include online or telephone surveys, one-on-one interviews, or focus groups, often synthesizing perceptions from a combination of these approaches.

Writing and editorial services

We have the expertise and resources to help clients expand their capacity to produce engaging development communications, including:

  • Gift announcements for internal and external audiences
  • Stewardship communications, both print and digital
  • Stories and editorials for publications, such as leadership messages and donor features in alumni magazines
  • Web copy and digital communications, such as e-blasts
  • Proposal writing guides specific to clients’ language, style, terminology, and fundraising strategies
  • Sample major gift proposals that communications staff can customize to a particular campaign priority or donor segment
  • Editing services to assist clients in enhancing and polishing existing content

Workshops and coaching

Development communications teams can benefit from our expert-led workshops on writing case statements, gift proposals, stewardship letters, and other key development communications. Group sessions might be followed by one-on-one individual coaching to provide feedback and support to a writer developing a specific proposal, announcement, or stewardship piece.

Social media strategy and benchmarking

Taking a data-driven approach to evaluating clients’ current social media strategy and tactics enables us to provide detailed recommendations for aligning digital, social, and analog communications to produce goal-oriented results. These studies may be supplemented by a benchmarking analysis of select peer institutions.

Creative materials assessment and development

We can support clients in crafting strong, inspirational communications materials by measuring individual pieces against defined criteria such as the power of creative concepts, editorial content, and visual presentation. We consider strategic intent, institutional and audience appropriateness, and cohesion. We can also provide services to help conceptualize and write creative materials, as well as coordinate design and production.

Survey and market research

Our efficient and cost-effective methods help clients better understand key stakeholders’ developing interests and attitudes toward philanthropic giving. Customized to target a particular program area, audience segment, donor profile, or initiative, this research uncovers constituents’ interests, perceptions, opinions, motivations, and concerns. It also helps practitioners understand facets of prospect behavior and engagement, knowledge invaluable to development, communications, and donor stewardship.

Georgia State University knew a successful campaign relies on strong, coordinated efforts from all internal stakeholders, so they sought to improve advancement communications capabilities and focus on developing distinctive communications positioning and messaging. Thirteen months into the campaign, they raised $230 million towards the $300 million Burning Bright campaign.

Strategic Communications Review and Campaign Communications Counsel
Read Success Story

Our Clients

GG+A’s strategic marketing communications consultants bring deep advancement knowledge, sophisticated communications skills, and best-in-class analytical tools to each engagement. Over time, we have worked with dozens of colleges, universities, independent schools, academic medical centers, children’s and other hospitals, scientific research institutes, disease foundations, museums, libraries, orchestras, performing arts centers, community foundations, and civic organizations. Here is a sampling:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Heart Association
  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • University of Cambridge
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Curtis Institute of Music
  • Dartmouth College
  • Drexel University
  • Emory University
  • Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Georgia State University
  • International School of Indiana
  • The Jackson Laboratory
  • Kenyon College
  • Loomis Chaffee School
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago
  • Michigan State University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • The University of Queensland
  • University of Rochester
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Dayton
  • University of Virginia Curry School of Education
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Villanova University
  • University of Virginia