Moving beyond crisis communications: Engaging donors in a changed world webinar

GG+A’s latest webinar features GG+A Senior Vice Presidents Melinda Church and Chris Begley in conversation with Leah Brady, Executive Director of Campaign Engagement at American University in Washington, D.C., where she oversees the central advancement communications, donor relations, and campaign and strategic events functions.

Leah Brady

Leah Brady

In the webinar, “Moving Beyond Crisis Communications: Engaging Donors in a Changed World,” Leah shares how American University’s Advancement team is meeting the challenges of the pandemic by focusing on deeper engagement of prospects and development of their volunteer structure. I believe the work of universities is important, our institutions are important, and I think our missions will survive all of this if we can find a way to embrace this expedited evolution.

“Don’t be afraid to start somewhere and start on the human level. Find a way to reach out that is authentic to your organization,” Leah says.

Below Leah Brady answers questions from webinar participants.

Q. Can you clarify – when you say “video,” do you mean in an interactive way such as Zoom, or as a pre-recorded video (which I have seen in a collection of COVID stewardship examples, an actually video-TAPED proposal that was sent to a donor.)

We are using Zoom for the small private conversations with our president; we will use Zoom webinar when we do the large format briefings.

Q. How are you hearing from your alums? Are they emailing someone on your team? How big is your team? Specifically, your alumni engagement?

Here’s a link to our development and alumni relations staff page, which includes the teams within Alumni Relations. This page needs a few updates due to recent departures and our hiring freeze, but gives a good picture: https://www.american.edu/giving/staff/

Moving Beyond Crisis Communications: Engaging Donors in a Changed World

Moving Beyond Crisis Communications: Engaging Donors in a Changed World from Grenzebach Glier + Associates on Vimeo.

About Leah Brady

Leah Brady is Executive Director of Campaign Engagement at American University in Washington, D.C., overseeing the central Advancement Communications, Donor Relations, and Campaign and Strategic Events functions. A member of the Development and Alumni Relations senior leadership team, Leah provides strategic oversight and leads efforts to define and execute communication strategies in support of AU’s comprehensive campaign, currently in the quiet phase.

Joining American University in 2012 as Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations, Leah has served in an increasing leadership capacity, establishing the division’s advancement communications function and heading its newly formed Office of Campaign Engagement. Her additional campaign experience includes work at The Fletcher School at Tufts University over the course of Tufts’ $1.2-billion Beyond Boundaries campaign.

Her knowledge and experience in annual giving, and integrated approach to principal and major gift cultivation and stewardship, is a result of experience gained at Children’s National Medical Center, Tufts University, and Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Leah has a strong track record of partnering with gift officers and advancement colleagues to motivate donors, volunteers, faculty, and staff to shape and fulfill organizational missions and strategic planning priorities.

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