This messaging platform is intended to help you communicate to your alumni, donors and potential donors in a tone and manner that is consistent and “on-brand.” We recommend you also refer to the overall University Brand Guidelines.
Brand Position for Advancement
The UW’s brand position — the most basic description of what we do and why — was identified through the University’s Reputation-Building Initiative. As Advancement professionals, our role is to explain how private support allows the University to live up to this statement.
“The University of Washington acts on its great capacity to educate as well as its ambition for addressing society’s most vital issues — all motivated by the shared concern for humanity as is characteristic of our region and the people who join it.”
Please refer back to this statement when beginning to plan any outgoing communications (stories/articles/letters/emails/event speaking points).
Advancement Points of Emphasis
Please integrate both of these concepts into all communications to alumni and donors.
- Every gift of every size has an impact and the potential to improve lives; and
- No matter what a donor’s passion/interest, there’s a way to support it through the University of Washington.
Messaging Framework — The UW Brand Essence
A consistent framework for story development will help to keep the UW message and voice strong. Please consider the following four elements prior to beginning writing:
1. On key issues of pressing concern
What key issue(s) does your story, example, or initiative address?
(ex. enabling smart students who thought college was financially impossible to pursue a higher education; using low-cost energy to improve sanitation in developing countries)
2. Driven by shared, explicit humanist goals
How does it demonstrate goals and values that we share with our community; specifically, working for the greater good?
(ex. our region’s commitment to preserving the natural environment for future generations)
3. Collective and integrative action
Are there key partnerships to highlight?
(ex. are we working with the Washington Research Foundation, PATH, a Pacific Northwest industry group or one of our peer universities?)
4. Bringing unmatched assets to bear
In what way does it depend upon our unmatched assets as a university?
(ex. faculty crossing disciplines to work together or state-of-the-art equipment or facilities available here)
Using the Messaging Framework — An Example
Early Childhood Learning Initiative
Driven by shared, explicit humanist goals:
- Discovering fundamental principles of learning and development, enabling children to achieve full potentials
Collective and integrative action:
- UW faculty and researchers form multiple disciplines are working together and sharing expertise with parents, educators, legislators, government agencies, and society at large
Bringing unmatched assets to bear:
- UW’s culture allows for the collaboration that’s needed to achieve this ambitious goal
- Contributors to Washington Learns, the state’s effort to prepare students for a global economy
- Providing financial support to improve early childhood learning in Washington state is a priority of the Gates Foundation and represents an ongoing partnership opportunity for the UW
Key issues of pressing concern:
- Impaired social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development in early childhood can lead to negative outcomes later in life, such as homelessness, poverty, and incarceration.
- According to Thrive by Five, fewer than half of the state’s children begin kindergarten with the skills necessary to succeed in school, and just 25 percent of the lowest-income students are prepared.
Tone and Manner
Advancement communications should help to humanize the University at every possible opportunity. Please use a conversational, relatable, casual tone. Technical terminology should almost always be avoided. Tell stories about impact on people’s lives, including occasional testimonials (writing in the voice of a beneficiary).
Questions? Please contact Advancement Communications.