For The Cause


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.


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.


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.


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


Print and online advertising used them…


to drive readers…


to a website for each campus tribe.


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.