University of St. Thomas – Chapel Renovation Naming Appeal

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TitleChapel Renovation Naming Appeal
InstitutionUniversity of St. Thomas
Submitted ByAriene Willkom
Assistant Director of Annual Giving
CategoryDirect Mail Appeals
Institution TypeCollege / University
What fiscal year did this effort occur?2019

This gift campaign was a collaborative, multichannel effort focused on fundraising for additional construction on the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas at the University of St. Thomas. The solicitation strategy was supported by the attached segmented direct mailing.

What makes this unique

This campaign is unique in that it was a campus-wide endeavor that invited the broader community to contribute to a historical project. The campaign connected multiple university functional areas, including Annual Giving, Major Gifts, Communications, Gift Processing, Senior University Leadership, Facilities, our lead architects on the renovation, and our Office for Mission. Reaching beyond the community, the mailings were segmented out to each constituent based on their relationship with the chapel; people married in the chapel, clergy, and University of St. Thomas alumni all received unique mailings. Donors who contributed Leadership Annual Gifts were able to have their name marked on one of the chapel’s tiles, leaving their impact on the St. Thomas community for years to come and quite literally giving a part of themselves to the chapel. Above all, this campaign galvanized University of St. Thomas community members to show their support for a campus space that continues to serve as a place of communal gathering.


This campaign triggered a groundswell of support from community members. The Advancement department was amazed at the level of giving below major gifts. The University of St. Thomas raised $403,000 solely from 451 gifts under $50,000. These statistics reflect our donors’ connection to the chapel as a symbol of community at the University of St.Thomas—the “heart” of our campus.