Opening the Gates to Philanthropy: Diversifying Communications in Institutional Advancement

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  • Today, supporting equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization (EDID) has become one of the top priorities for Canadian post-secondary institutions. Universities across Canada have taken various steps to achieve this goal, efforts ranging from reviewing the composition of senior management teams to developing communication campaigns that celebrate cultural diversity. However, while universities have started implementing these initiatives, they often overlook considering EDID in donor communication strategies. This research will work toward answering the following question: to what extent does the University of Alberta (U of A) utilize inclusive development (fundraising) communications practices? This research will focus on the U of A as a case study and will utilize a mixed method approach. Through semi-structured interviews with fundraising and communication professionals and an analysis of quantitative data gathered from an annual donor communication piece this research will explore the extent to which EDID is considered in donor communication strategies at the U of A. The findings from this research suggest that donor communications at the U of A do not consider EDID in planning, measuring or developing donor communications in a way that is representative of diverse donor audiences. This research also provides several recommendations on how donor communication strategies at the U of A can be improved to become more accessible to equity-deserving donor populations.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International