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 development

A five- to eight-page document that articulates an institution’s strategic vision, provides a compelling rationale for philanthropy, and offers attractive giving opportunities. Involves stakeholder interviews and in-depth consultation with leaders on positioning and messaging.

Case statement and proposal writing and workshops

Expert-led group sessions for sharing best practices pertinent to writing case statements, major gift proposals, stewardship letters, or other materials. One-on-one coaching is also available. May also include production of a three- to six-page proposal that presents a specific giving opportunity within compelling institutional context, nuanced to appeal to the prospect’s interests and motivations.

Communications strategy and messaging

A structured set of messages that articulates a fundraising proposition via core and supporting points nuanced for target audiences. Enables a disciplined approach to conveying strategically important messages through any combination of vehicles. Useful for institutional campaigns, annual giving programs, alumni engagement initiatives, and other purposes.

Creative materials assessment

A detailed evaluation of individual pieces measured against defined criteria addressing the power of creative concepts, editorial content, and visual presentation. Considerations include strategic intent, institutional and audience appropriateness, and cohesion. Report may include ideas to stimulate new thinking.

Creative materials development

Creative services to conceptualize, write, and—if helpful—coordinate design and production of advancement communications materials.

Development communications program reviews and benchmarking

An assessment of an institution’s communications program in support of development, constituent engagement, or overall advancement. Typically focuses on five areas: strategic planning and priorities, messaging, strategies and tactics, management and organization, and resources and budgets. May include benchmarking against peer institutions.

Fundraising or engagement message development and testing

Quantitative and qualitative studies that test the appeal of both substance and language. Rigorous methodologies produce reliable data on constituent interests and opinions, preferences and priorities. Questions posed via online or telephone survey, one-on-one interview, or focus group—often synthesizing perceptions from multiple approaches.

Institutional visioning and campaign priority-setting

A multi-stage process to define an institution’s vision and to determine the fundraising priorities that will galvanize philanthropic support for it. Engages senior-most leaders to align strategic priorities and funding opportunities for maximum cohesion and impact.

Social media strategy and benchmarking

A data-driven evaluation of an institution’s current approaches with recommendations for aligning digital, social, and analog communications to produce goal-oriented results. May include a benchmarking study of select peers.

Strategic communications plans

A detailed plan for communicating with all important constituencies during each distinct phase of a fundraising campaign or other advancement initiative. Identifies goals for each audience and optimal outreach strategies, tactics, and vehicles. Includes draft schedule and budget recommendations.

Survey and market research

An efficient and cost-effective way to better understand key stakeholders’ developing interests and attitudes toward philanthropic giving. Uncover constituents’ interests, perceptions, opinions, motivations, and concerns. Understand facets of prospect behavior and engagement, knowledge invaluable to practitioners in development, communications, and donor stewardship. May be customized to target a particular program area, audience segment, donor profile, or fundraising initiative.

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
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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
  • University of Cambridge
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Curtis Institute of Music
  • Dartmouth College
  • Drexel University
  • Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Georgia State University
  • The Jackson Laboratory
  • Kenyon College
  • Loomis Chaffee School
  • Michigan State University
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • University of Toronto
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Villanova University