Washington State University – Segmented End of Fiscal Year Campaign

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TitleSegmented End of Fiscal Year Campaign
InstitutionWashington State University
Submitted ByNicole LeBlanc
Development Coordinator
CategorySpecial Campaigns/Challenges
Institution TypeCollege / University
What fiscal year did this effort occur?2018

This campaign is our End of Fiscal Year appeal, with direct mail, email, and social media components. The messaging theme focused on the excitement and new beginnings that follow graduation. For this appeal, we combined three historical pieces into a single large send with 12 segmented text versions

What makes this unique

The highly tailored messaging for the mailer is unique to our institution, and messaging segments were based off of each donor household’s past behavior. This segmentation allowed us to include special messaging for our more high-touch segments, such as those with high lifetime giving levels, those giving at our leadership annual giving level, those who give to multiple areas at WSU, and those who already gave during the fiscal year. It also allowed us to pinpoint special messaging to those in upgrade segments, to encourage them to give at the leadership annual level (while still honoring and recognizing their current year giving).

We also extended our digital efforts this fiscal year for the End of Fiscal Year appeal. Since there was a visual and messaging tie in to graduation, there was good engagement on social media.

Primary Goal

The primary goal for this piece was to retain and reactivate all non-renewed or lapsed donors. The segmentation was designed to give donors customized messaging based on their levels of engagement and giving to WSU. The appeal also included specific segments of current-year donors with soft asks, focused on donor upgrades.


In total, this appeal generated 578 gifts for $112,776 with an average gift size of $213. Online giving over the final two months of the fiscal year (when this campaign went out) also was up by $9,000 over FY17.
The addition of the social media ads (with matching imagery and messaging) created an additional impact. From the final numbers, 39.9% of the gifts and 46.9% of the revenue came from donors who received the direct mail and were on the digital ad targeted lists.
One key outcome from this piece was a demonstration that simplification did not affect participation—results for the FY18 EOFY appeal actually surpassed the combined totals of the three unique appeal version from FY17. The staff time saved to create one larger appeal was significant.
Overall, FY18 ended up as the WSU Foundation’s third-highest fundraising year on record and its highest non-campaign year ever.