VMI Alumni agencies
As Director of Digital Content, I oversee the design, direction and implementation of a digital strategy for the fundraising and alumni arm of the Virginia Military Institute.
I am also a manager for the team’s Social Media Strategist. My role is to make sure institutional prioritizes are emphasized on each of our platforms.
Projects range from website redesigns, to data-driven decision making that help our fundraising and communications teams focus on content that resonates. Additonally, I work on video production to share the impact of philanthropy.
More recently, I was tasked with organizing and executing multi-channel communications plans to promote fundraising initiatives and larger events, like this year’s 25th anniversary celebration of women at VMI. The video here was shown during the weekend’s formal dinner event.
Content within the plan 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.
Challenge: The three distinct arms of the VMI Alumni Agencies (Alumni Association, Foundation, and Keydet Club/Athletic Booster Organization) had three different online presences spread between two web servers. To make it more challenging, two of the three organizations’ sites were hosted on a site we did not have direct access to, which led to static, outdated content.
Solution: I was responsible for sourcing, evaluating, and recommending website developers who could help us bring all three sites under one umbrella. My responsibilities included conducting focus groups with alumni, creating the site architecture, orchestrating content reviews, and spearheading content creation for the new site.
Results: My demonstrable web experience allowed us to negotiate more than a 30% reduction in price. Analytics, shown below, also described a redesign that was incredibly successful:
By the Numbers
December 2019 v. December 2018
Increase in Users
Increase in Pageviews
Increase in Pages/Session
Challenge: During our online fundraising campaigns, our annual giving and senior leadership teams had little to no visibility on which channels were the most effective at bringing in donors.
Solution: I implemented a connection between our online giving provider and Google Analytics, which allowed us to use individual tracking codes on all communications during these campaigns.
Results: We found that emails were our strongest performing medium, while texting and social media have been steadily growing over the last few years. This information, in turn, has allowed our annual giving and communications teams to focus resources on the highest-converting mediums.
Crisis Communications Planning
Challenge: Virginia Military Institute fielded multiple damaging news reports about racism on campus. In response, the university president stepped down, and the state ordered an investigation into the school’s culture.
Solution: Initially, I assisted in the creation of a comprehensive communications plan which was focused on communication with alumni, parents and friends of VMI. The plan outlined consistent communication featuring unifying content from alumni and current students that focused on the positive outcomes happening on campus.
I also was responsible for maintaining a specialized news center on our website, which provided as a repository for all communications.
Results: During an alumni engagement conference the following year, 96% of respondents said that the cadence of communications during the initial months of turmoil at VMI was “just right.”
Brand Improvement Landing Page
Challenge: Challenge: VMI’s reputation was damaged during multiple news cycles as the state investigated incidents of racism on campus.
Solution: Create a landing page that served as an easily digestible way to understand VMI’s unique strengths, highlighting talented students and alumni.
Results: The average time spent on the landing page was 2:45, which is 89% higher than the average site visit during the same time period, indicating content that resonated with visitors.