For The Cause

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The assignment: Raise $1.25 billion (that’s billion with a B) in three years?

The reframe: Turn the case for new facilities into an overriding, human cause that can make a difference to individuals and to the world.

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Enter “the ripple effect.”

Stories of how one person and their generosity gave another person a chance.

And how that person effected another person for good.  And that person helped another and another and another.

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Ripple effect stories for each tribe (University of Illinois, U of I Springfield  and U of I Chicago) were told visually with each campus’ skyline in the background.

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These marque images, and the stories behind them, were used in all media and in every fundraising venue.

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Print and online advertising used them…

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to drive readers…

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to a website for each campus tribe.

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Each site gave an overview of that campus’ plans and case.

But most important, presented a variety of ripple effect stories in detail.

The people who started a ripple told their stories in person on the site, in meetings, fundraising presentations and in social media.

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Even the university case statement focused first on the cause of giving someone a chance and then on the things needed to meet the cause.

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Writer’s and designer’s guides kept each college’s case statements focused on the cause.

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Events and presentations were rooted in telling “ripple effect” stories for the cause.

The result: $1.5 billion was raised in two and a half years. But not for the university.

For the cause.

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