It has been 25 years since Wichita State last conducted a comprehensive campaign. We haven’t been idle, however. Money has been raised for targeted campaigns, including scholarships, estate giving, art restoration, building renovations and construction of new buildings. But the time has come again to make a significant statement.
“Wichita State has a big, audacious plan for its future,” said Elizabeth King, WSU Foundation president and CEO, “and it will include a multi-year comprehensive campaign.”
“I foresee the general fundraising priorities will include both academic facilities and support for scholarships, faculty and continued quality enhancement of the campus,” said WSU President John Bardo, “but a final list will be announced at the official kick-off.”
Why share this now?
Though the WSU campaign won’t hold a public kickoff for nearly two years, Foundation board members, staff and the National Advisory Council Marketing/Communications Committee members agreed that instead of working quietly until then, the Foundation should be totally transparent with the plans.
“Everyone agreed that it was vitally important for donors, employees, friends — all of Shocker Nation, to be aware that something significant is going to happen and what direction that is going to take,” said Al Higdon, Marketing/Communications Committee member and cofounder of Sullivan Higdon and Sink.
Foundation leadership believes its candidness will empower donors — loyal and potential, to place WSU in a prominent position now in their future charitable giving plans.
“We want to be at the forefront of people’s minds when they are thinking about major, long-term philanthropic commitments,” said King. “We want you to know what lies ahead for your university, and we hope that by being open about the planning initiatives, you will prepare now to be a part of the excitement later.”
What should we say?
Higdon guided the committee in the brand messaging development.
“How should we couch our words during this pre-campaign announcement period,” Higdon posed to committee members.
Three concepts led to the pre-campaign theme options that were crafted by the Marketing/Communications Committee: the excitement generated by Bardo’s forward-thinking priorities established soon after he stepped onto campus, the positive energy in the relationships between the university and the community, and the enthusiastic loyalty of Shockers everywhere — prominently demonstrated during the recent Final Four. After the Foundation staff narrowed the options, the final theme of Vision to Reality . . . we can make it happen was selected by NAC members attending the Sept. 27 business meeting.
“This is an exciting time in the life of Wichita State,” said King, “and we invite you to embrace the vision and join with us as we prepare to launch a comprehensive campaign positioned to secure the highest level of learning excellence that our university has ever seen.”