Indiana University Foundation

Indiana University Foundation

University Foundation Maximizes Digital Influence for Capital Campaign


The Indiana University Foundation is in charge of maximizing private sector support for Indiana University (IU).


Main Campus – Bloomington, IN, USA

Services Provided

  • Social media audit
  • Content marketing audit
  • Strategic roadmap for social and content growth
  • Reporting and measurement


Authentic dialogue can make or break any fundraising effort. But when your database has grown across multiple stakeholders, generations, interest groups, and owners, how do you reign it back in to launch a successful four-year, multi-billion dollar bicentennial campaign that speaks the language of each sub-group?


The Indiana University Foundation maximizes private sector support for IU and fosters lifelong relationships with various IU stakeholders. In the fall of 2015, the Foundation launched a $2.5 billion dollar bicentennial campaign, scheduled for a four-year period.

The audience for the Foundation comprised donors (50% of whom are not IU graduates), non-donor alumni, special interest groups (i.e., parents), and student leaders who don’t necessarily donate to the Foundation but serve as advocates.

Convince & Convert worked with the IU Foundation to build a strategic program to address the changing demographic for engaging younger donors. In addition, C&C created a framework for the social and content marketing programs around the bicentennial campaign.


  • As with any large institution, Indiana University Foundation had disparate access and management of their contact database. Additionally, they had challenges accessing and segmenting the University database.
  • Social media channels were parsed among the university brand team, individual colleges, and other stakeholders.
  • The IU Foundation was tasked with an impressive fundraising (capital campaign) initiative + specific event support for a finite launch and acceleration period for the capital campaign.


Convince & Convert immediately set to work on understanding the current social and content marketing environment for Indiana University Foundation.

Convince & Convert found clearly that the Foundation had not defined a singular, focused voice for itself, which was decreasing their engagement with core audiences. While important to support and align with University messaging, IUF was nearly exclusively reposting from the main university page.

Once the IUF voice was established, a competitive audit was completed. This included other university philanthropic arms as well as large mainstream charities. Through this audit, Convince & Convert prescriptively recommended the best day of the week, types of content, and social channels for IUF to focus resources on immediately.

Shifting to the longer-term strategy, Convince & Convert worked to create a structure for the multi-year campaign and engagement of diverse donor populations. We created a funnel approach by donor type to inspire, promote, connect, and then activate them to the campaign. In each segment, the digital channels and content types were specifically targeted to reach maximum success.

The final phase of the strategy was to layer on a paid promotional plan and a specific editorial cadence to further the campaign and maintain messaging among the key audiences.


  • One year into the campaign, IUF retained Convince & Convert for advanced strategic recommendations as they grew in confidence from the campaign success.
  • IUF launched a massively successful IU Day initiative: a one-day campaign that focused university-wide attention on the capital campaign.
  • IUF has more than tripled their Facebook following.
  • IUF’s social media audience grew 85% last year, while maintaining engagement objectives.
  • IUF describes their social media program as an indispensable platform for audience engagement and relationship-building.

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