We have stories to tell.

We are students of our field, and we have things to say. This collection of articles and videos represent the trends that have struck us and the ideas that have stuck with us.


All aboard! Leadership buy-in and your case for support

  • February 
  • 7, 2019

Your case makes the argument for why donors should give to your worthy cause. I’ve written hundreds of these documents over the years and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: Your top leaders—usually that means the board chair, campaign chair, senior administrative officer…


The power of storytelling: thoughts from a crime writer

  • February 
  • 1, 2019
By Jon Jefferson, , 

First, a confession, even though Paragraph 1 seems the wrong place for a crime writer to put the confession: As a guy who often writes in 90,000-word chunks (I’ve written 10 crime novels, a thriller and two true-crime books), in my case-statement writing I am…


Authoring the real story: How to humanize philanthropy beyond the business of fundraising

  • January 
  • 7, 2019
By Anne Reusché, 

In fundraising, we talk often about the importance of “putting a human face” on philanthropy, as presumably donors will care more about a cause if it is connected to an actual person via a testimony or “real story.” When this is done well—telling a real…


An ice-cold reality of digital engagement and the importance of starting early

  • September 
  • 7, 2018
By Sarah Muench, 

When the ice-cold water rushed over my head, I involuntarily jumped like a loaded spring, ran around in a circle and let out a scream in a pitch I hadn’t hit since I was 5. All the while, my friend barely could hold his phone…


The Future of Higher Ed PR

  • July 
  • 11, 2017
By Charlie Melichar, 

Proving the Power of Strategic Public Relations The practice of public relations in higher education today is very different than it was when we started our careers 25 years ago. Once upon a time, our job was to operate a “telegram office” that sent messages…


Are you ready to engage?

  • May 
  • 3, 2017
By Charlie Melichar, 

Alumni engagement. Parent engagement. Community engagement. Constituent engagement. The list of people institutions are trying to “engage” these days is exhausting. But what does it mean to be engaged? Do you want engagement or just more people doing the thing you want them to do? This question is deeper than…


Metrics: Repeat, Rethink, or Remove

  • April 
  • 10, 2017
By Charlie Melichar, 

Before you pull that next metrics report, ask yourself, “What decision am I prepared to make based on what it says?” If you don’t have a short list of decisions (even one will suffice), don’t pull the report. Reports and charts alone just show that…


Sorry, content. Experience is king.

  • March 
  • 8, 2017
By Charlie Melichar, 

Enough with the content. Create experiences. I’m a storyteller and a believer in the power of words but even I can see the writing on the wall. Content enjoyed a good, long reign but it’s time for a new king, and the crown belongs to…


Communicating Impact

  • January 
  • 11, 2016
By Pete Mackey, Charlie Melichar, Melanie Moran, 

Building a Powerful Development and Communications Relationship


The Right Balance: Your Fundraising Campaign Brand and Your Institutional Brands

  • August 
  • 27, 2015

A comprehensive fundraising campaign is a unique moment in the life of an institution. How can marketing leaders convey the significance and impact of a campaign within the context of the larger institutional brand? Should the fundraising campaign brand be different than the institutional brand,…