I’m Christian Heilman
I enjoy making complicated concepts universally understandable. For nearly five years, I was an on-air reporter and news anchor, which required me to become a subject matter expert on a new topic every day. Whether it was a deep dive into urban planning, local politics or the latest major story, by 6:00 I took a complicated topic and made it digestible for more than 20,000 people watching at home.
My work has received accolades, ranging from a regional Edward R. Murrow Award to multiple Virginia Associated Press awards and Emmy nominations. Every day, my goal was to connect viewers at home with the person I met that day.
Beginning in 2019, I took my traditional media savvy and started using it for advancement in higher education. I am responsible for the design, direction and implementation of the online presence for the Virginia Military Institute Alumni Agencies. The organization is in charge of the Institute’s fundraising, as well as the Alumni Association.
I was first charged with a complete website redesign, taking the three organizations (VMI Foundation, VMI Keydet Club and VMI Alumni Association) and combining it under the larger VMI Alumni Agencies umbrella. My expertise in content strategy and web design led to an overall project savings of 33%.
During my first year, I spearheaded our Day of Giving planning and execution, which included research into and selection of an online giving platform, video production and a comprehensive day-of communications strategy. The day was a success, raising $257,056 in 24 hours.
Afterward, I analyzed data to figure out when people were giving, where they were coming from and what messages caused them to take action. This type of research allowed me to share key takeaways with fundraising and annual giving teams, helping shape future efforts to focus on what works.
More recently, I was tasked with organizing and executing multi-channel communications plans to promote even larger events, like this year’s 25th anniversary celebration of women at VMI. Content spanned from written articles in our alumni magazine to specially produced video features, unique social media content and postcard mailings to ramp up awareness and interest. When the weekend came, more than 20% of VMI alumnae returned to campus, and the event was hailed as an incredible success.
I also take pride in sharing the power of philanthropy among the VMI network through video storytelling. By sharing the stories of successful students and alumni, I am helping to grow engaged donors that will give their time, talent and treasure so that the Institute can be heard from for generations to come.
I pride myself in a simple approach to life and work: focusing on relationships. Whether it’s in news building rapport with sources to find unique stories, or in higher education getting buy-in from senior leadership to make large-scale changes, I am able to take the complicated, make it universally understood and widely accepted.
Get in touch.