Feb. 5, 2021

Energize campaign team wins prestigious best practices award

Historic fundraising campaign is closed, but its winning impact keeps going
Energized by you
Energized by you

Last week, the Office of Advancement’s Energize campaign team edged out submissions from post-secondaries across the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada to become a CASE VIII “Best Of” recipient, winning the prestigious Platinum Award for Best Practices in Fundraising. The Platinum award is the only district award that is elevated to the international stage; our Energize entry will now be judged against universities from across the globe for a chance to win Best Practices in Fundraising in the world.

The award recognizes all aspects of the fundraising effort from conception to execution to its closing celebration.

“This truly was a community-driven campaign and speaks to that collective ambition and connection the community feels toward the University of Calgary and its leadership and impact,” says Nuvyn Peters, vice-president of advancement. But, she says, while the Energize campaign’s success is proof of the wider community’s belief in what we do, “it’s our campus community that brings their vision to life.”

Virtual celebration event takes Best Practices Gold

A second award — this time, a Gold for the Campaign Close Virtual Celebration Event under Best Practices in Donor Relations and Stewardship — specifically recognizes the high level of meaningful relationship-building and care for our philanthropic community that was evident in the final celebration event.

As this bold campaign drew to a close last year it, like so many endeavours, required a pivot from the planned, in-person closing celebration with our campus and wider community. Undeterred, the campaign-close team embraced the innovative spirit of this university to find a way to share and honour the community’s philanthropic support and commitment to excellence: the campaign close

To that end, the Advancement team created a spirited, collaborative virtual event, which took CASE VIII’s Bronze award for a Special Events Single Day. The digital event included a musical montage from the School of Creative and Performing Arts; a word of gratitude to the community from President Ed McCauley; and a poignant roundup of personal reasons for giving voiced by dozens of donors, alumni and volunteers.

Video was 'icing on the cake'

CASE judges called the campaign-close event “An impressive example of cross-functional collaboration … that celebrated a huge fundraising accomplishment… with clear attention to detail in making the entire virtual experience feel cohesive and branded.” The celebratory video was, the judges added, “the icing on the cake” of a tremendously successful campaign.

“This was an exceptional campaign in so many ways,” says Andrea Morris, chief development officer. It was launched publicly in 2016 at the low point in our economy and then successfully ended in the midst of a global pandemic.

“I think that speaks volumes about the commitment and dedication of our community and volunteers, but also about our team. Everyone involved believed strongly in the ambitious vision, and never gave up.

"It is the entrepreneurial spirit,” she says, adding, ‘That’s what I’m most proud of, and to see that recognized by our peers in North America is deeply meaningful.”

This recognition is especially poignant and powerful as we continue to celebrate the lasting impact of Energize throughout the “Year of Gratitude,” during which we’re sharing some of our most transformative stories of campaign impact. We’re so proud of our devoted and talented team who continue to make this campaign a lasting success story. Congratulations, team!