University of Alberta Case Study

The Client

The University of Alberta in Edmonton is one of Canada’s top teaching and research universities.

The Challenge

Two years earlier, the University created a legacy campaign that was unsuccessful. The planned giving department approached HMA to test a campaign and asked us to use the same donor’s story. This was a novel approach and turned out to be a wise one. It gave us a test of creative: a campaign done by the University’s experienced communication staff VS. legacy experts at HMA.

(Both campaigns had a similar budget, but the internal campaign uncovered zero confirmations and just one lead. The HMA campaign uncovered 16 confirmed legacy donors, and 96 good leads – which could potentially raise millions of dollars in additional income.)

The Solution

HMA recommended sending select donors a highly personal mailing. We took the previous story, improved the creative, and sent this to 2,500 donors. The campaign was designed to identify individuals who had already left the University in their Will, people considering a legacy gift, and those interested in more information.

The Results

The results exceeded our client’s expectations:

  • A response rate of 15%
  • 16 uncovered legacy gifts with an estimated value of over $1 million
  • 96 leads were generated from donors saying they intend to leave a gift, are seriously considering it, and/or would like more information about leaving a gift.
Besides the confirmed bequests and leads, the survey identified 21 donors who indicated interest in making a gift of $5,000 or more to a special project.

Client: University of Alberta: Case Study

Services: Direct Mail, Legacy



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