Seattle University – Annual Fund Rebrand and Graphics Package

Click the image to the right to download the complete sample
TitleAnnual Fund Rebrand and Graphics Package
InstitutionSeattle University
Submitted ByMargaret Fielder
Assistant Director of Annual Giving
Institution TypeCollege / University
What fiscal year did this effort occur?2017

Entering FY2018, the Seattle University Annual Giving team collaborated across campus to design and produce a new collateral suite that was more flexible and better represented our Jesuit Catholic values and evolving branding in a professional, engaging, and timeless manner.

What makes this unique

Planning the redesign involved distilling our entire brand and mission into a simple set of graphics and guiding principles, and then ensuring the same principles would be reflected in each message’s content. Annual Giving collected input from the Donor Relations, Advancement Services, Alumni Engagement, Advancement Events, Athletics, Campaign, and Marketing & Communications (MarCom) departments to inform our strategy and Request for Proposal, and also to find opportunities to use the design and production phase to meet the needs of additional campus partners (such as producing custom Planned Giving and Center for Science and Innovation buckslips). We required a set of cohesive materials that would be engaging to both younger and older audiences, and that would utilize clean and inspiring design without being overly sharp or trendy. The new design needed to straddle the line between Seattle University’s current colorful and kinetic branding, our bold Athletics branding, and the classic, academic branding that our 1950s through 1990s alumni treasure. Most importantly, we wanted to more simply and succinctly convey gratitude and impact. The results gave us a strong, professional, and traditional base, and the digital tools to make this base more playful when necessary.

Primary Goal

On a limited budget, we needed to replace our dated suite with something that 1) could be utilized across multichannel print, email, and social media communications; 2) feel appropriate to faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends; and 3) have the flexibility necessary to appeal to the diverse preferences of multigenerational audiences. In all, the direct mail suite redesign included letterhead, envelopes, several buckslips, and all-in-one variable remit reply envelope, an interactive first-time donor postcard package, thematic icons, customizable email headers, footers, and give buttons, an e-newsletter template, and a small SU Fund infographic. In addition, we overhauled our President’s Club (leadership giving) collateral suite, including establishing a meaningful society symbol and launching a members-only biannual e-newsletter.


We created a Seattle University Annual Giving slogan, “Your Gift. Their Journey. Our Future.” and refocused every Annual Giving communication to be more donor-centric, conveying several base messages:
o By giving to Seattle University, I am supporting an excellent educational institution and investing in a more just and humane future.
o The quality education Seattle University students receive is unique and deserves my support. By ensuring a diverse student body will always be able to access Seattle University’s rigorous, engaging, and values-centered education, I am a hero.
o I am appreciated, my gifts have impact, and I am part of a strong and dynamic community united by passion, dedication, and generosity.

Despite mailing to only 62% the number of our households, our first communication, the Fall Solicitation raised 44% more gifts. We also raised record-breaking sums on our Thanksgiving Email (534% more gifts), Year-End Email (243% more gifts), Spring Solicitations (351% more gifts), and several school and college solicitations. Overall, direct mail and email in FY18 raised 50% more gifts than FY17. Additionally, from FY17 to FY18, President’s Club membership increased 15%. Open rates on President’s Club e-newsletters have exceeded 47%, and end of the fiscal year calling to members raised 3x more gifts than previous years. The President’s Club is now a unique, valued, and recognized Seattle University giving society.

The success of the new suite and strategy has exceeded expectations, both in dollars-raised and in re-establishing strong connections with our alumni and broader community. In response to our new first-time donor postcard, one Seattle University parent wrote-in “I give because my son is challenged and respects his professors at SU! He is thriving in the culture created on campus and I am grateful to each person there. The opportunities for leadership and a variety of club sports also stands out as a positive experience. He believes he is being well-prepared for his future and so do I.”