“Wow, Wow, Wow. St. Mary’s team thought of everything and executed a strategic giving day to reach their ambitious goals,” said Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) judges as St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s Office of Institutional Advancement wins Gold in the 2020 Circle of Excellence Awards.
The international awards program honors outstanding work in advancement services, alumni relations, communications, fundraising, and marketing at colleges, universities, independent schools, and affiliated nonprofits. Each year the CASE Circle of Excellence Awards recognize institutions whose talented staff members advanced their institutions through innovative, inspiring and creative ideas.
CASE judges continued, “The Alumni Council Challenge was an effective partner to lead the day. They utilized student groups for content creation, which was brilliant, and it promoted the success of the day. The content was clearly engaging, and the student buy-in was obvious. They also were nimble during the campaign, using spontaneous moments to build excitement. We were also impressed with what they were able to do with their limited budget. Gold all the way!”
The main goal of the 2019 BeCounted on Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign was to reach 1,203 unique donors (1,203 donors to remind people of the 12.03 Giving Tuesday event date). When the campaign closed at midnight, all school records were broken with 1,965 donors raising $379,430. The Alumni Council Challenge was designed to increase giving participation rates among alumni and students. The advancement team also strived to increase total dollars raised. All goals were achieved with a 6 percent jump in the College’s alumni participation rate, an increase of 32 percent of total dollars raised over 2018, and an increase of 69 percent in students who gave.
Led by Vice President for Institutional Advancement Carolyn Curry, the team has won a number of national awards recently. In the Annual Educational Advertising Awards: A Bronze Award for BeCounted on Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign, a Silver Award for the special event Hawktoberfest, a Silver Award for the College’s total recruitment package, and a Bronze Award for its fall 2019 open house integrated marketing campaign, which helped launch the new National Public Honors College brand and assisted Admission in increasing attendance by prospective students by 72 percent over the previous year.
In the 2019 Collegiate Advertising Awards, Institutional Advancement’s Integrated Marketing department won the Gold Award for the “apply now” postcard series. The winning series of three postcards was mailed to perspective students during the 2019-20 academic year. The department won a Silver Award for the folder within the Admitted Seahawks Packet. Featuring the College’s picturesque location, the folder was delivered to students admitted to St. Mary’s College. All award-winners were created and designed in-house by SMCM alumna Keely Houk ’17.
“We are ecstatic to be validated by CASE’s gold standard, “said Curry. “We know we are often judged by our attitude. Every one of the participants in this campaign, including donors, bursts with pride for St. Mary’s College.
“Most important, we model for our students timely skills—the power of teamwork and collaboration,” she said.
The award-winning BeCounted on Giving Tuesday campaign can be viewed online here: https://www.case.org/awards/circle-excellence/2020/be-counted-giving-tuesday.