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Johns Hopkins

Building a new culture of philanthropy, a strategy for constituent engagement, and a $4.5 billion capital campaign

In advance of Rising to the Challenge, a $4.5 billion capital campaign, the financial crisis compelled Johns Hopkins University to look beyond its cadre of major donors, and to develop a stronger, more broadly based, institution-wide foundation for giving. At the same time, because the university’s undergraduates had, at best, an inconsistent college experience, development and alumni relations needed to build a new culture of philanthropy from the ground up.

To accomplish this, we sought to begin a radically different process of constituent engagement by leveraging our initial research in a new way. This not only provided the university with a de facto feasibility study for the future campaign, Rising to the Challenge, it also served as the foundation for an enduring constituent engagement strategy, a new compact between students, alumni, and the university.

  • Conducted large-scale qualitative research on core constituencies ranging from current students to multiple alumni segments, faculty, staff, and administration at more than a dozen locations across the United States.
  • Developed comprehensive strategy to help identify and nurture the university’s next generation of givers in order to build an enduring culture of philanthropy throughout the entirety of Johns Hopkins.
  • Created overarching alumni relations, development, and philanthropic communications and organizational strategy, including core themes, positioning, and targeted messaging for all key constituencies.
  • Developed strategy and naming for new alumni giving societies.
  • Created naming and foundational messaging used in $4.5 billion capital campaign, Rising to the Challenge