MSK Partners

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Design, communication and what's on our mind

The Power of Penn

Our long-time client, the University of Pennsylvania, recently announced “The Power of Penn: Advancing Knowledge for Good,” a $4.1 billion fundraising and engagement campaign. Broad campaign initiatives include expanded student opportunities, pioneering work in healthcare, driving energy solutions, incubating innovation and entrepreneurship, and enhancing research across disciplines.

Filed under: Higher Education

Following the Founder

For over eight years, we’ve served the University of Pennsylvania developing key print and digital communications programs for fundraising, admissions and alumni relations. Our recent work for Penn Engineering’s annual giving fund shows how the School has taken founder Benjamin Franklin’s words to heart by continuing to change, adapt and innovate. The campaign features large images and brief text describing recent advances including adding 165,000 square feet of engineering space, increasing tenure track faculty size by 30 percent, and significantly increasing course offerings to connect resources with talent. Results? Fundraising and application numbers are both record-breaking.

Filed under: Design, Higher Education

Moving the Needle

Independent and private schools face unique challenges – and also unique opportunities – when it comes alumni cultivation and stewardship. CCS Fundraising has published an interesting white paper called “Moving the Needle from Alumni Engagement to Alumni Giving,” Co-authored by Detroit Country Day School (DCDS), you can download the report and discover how DCDS developed stronger bonds with their alumni and dramatically boosted their giving.

 

Filed under: Communication, Higher Education

Nano Scaling-up

As part of our ongoing work with the University of Pennsylvania, MSK Partners recently rebranded the Singh Center for Nanotechnology – located on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus in Philadelphia, the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology is a multi-user facility where the research and educational programs at the University, partner institutions and industry come together to form a regional hub for nanotechnology. The firm developed a new logo, messaging strategies and a series of direct mail and collateral materials.

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Filed under: Design, Higher Education

Facilities & Fundraising

According to University Business magazine, nearly two-thirds of higher ed readers surveyed expected a major renovation project to be launched or completed in 2016. Here’s a closer look at what facilities department leaders are talking about and expecting in 2016.

http://www.universitybusiness.com/article/outlook-facilities-new-visions-campus-space

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Filed under: Higher Education

On the Campaign Trail

Nationwide, the start of capital and comprehensive fundraising campaigns has risen dramatically over the past six months according to various indicators. Institutions and other non-profits have more confidence in their ability to raise significant funds than they did just one year ago. From the conversations we’ve had, many would have liked to begin a campaign last year but felt market conditions would not sustain such an initiative. We’ve certainly seen an upswing in clients seeking campaign communications – covering planning and identity to case statements and online/tablet components. We’re currently managing communications programs for campaigns with goals ranging from $10 million to $500 million for clients including Drexel University, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Foundation Fighting Blindness, and the University of Pennsylvania. Please contact us if you would like a confidential discussion regarding your campaign.

Filed under: Communication, Higher Education

An Institution of Higher Marketing

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Last week marked the start of a new year, and for many high school students it symbolizes the last semester before jetting off to college. Parents aspire for their kids to attend the most prestigious academic university, and kids aspire to move as far away from their parents as possible. This upcoming year it looks as though there is an exciting new university that offers it all; Monsters University.

No, Monsters University is not a real college but you wouldn’t be able to tell that by the look and feel of its website. Disney/Pixar launched this marketing campaign to promote the release of their upcoming movie: Monsters University. The site is complete with recruitment videos, a functioning school store and anything else you would expect to find on a legitimate college’s page.

Arthur Clawson, the founder of Monsters University said, “Knowledge must never be feared, wisdom must always be pursued, and excellence must be at the center of everything.” Clearly, Disney/Pixar’s marketing knowledge, wisdom and excellence are on full display with this site.

Filed under: Higher Education

Hunkering down

Across the country, budgets are still tight on many campuses and colleges are struggling to find new sources of revenue. State budget cuts and reductions in private donations present mounting challenges. A recent report on U.S. institutions from The Chronicle of Higher Education details many of the issues including these highlights:

  • Private colleges are more dependent than public ones on tuition
  • College endowments began to grow again in 2010
  • Public financing for colleges fell in many states in 2010-11
  • 63 gifts of $101-million or more were given to institutions last year
  • 99 institutions charged $50,000 or more for tuition, room and board during 2010-11
  • Student costs at 4-year private colleges are almost double those at public colleges
  • Tuition discount rates are rising at private colleges
  • Federal science funds doubled at 28 colleges

Given our heavy involvement in institutional fundraising, of particular interest to us were details on the top fund raisers including our clients Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania – both in the top ten for total support and support from non-alumni individuals.

Filed under: Higher Education

Codes for contact

QR – or “quick response” – codes are finally starting to pop up around the country. While still not fully mainstream, QR codes are appearing in print publications, on bus sides, and plastered on storefronts. At this rate, it won’t be long before most people can immediately recognize and use QR codes. So how are colleges and universities taking advantage of this technology? We’re seeing them in a wide variety of applications. From codes on math worksheets that direct students to video tutorials of how to solve problems…to QR codes on literary magazines to lead people to a gallery of all the artwork that was submitted but couldn’t fit in the print version. Our primary usage? On alumni magazines to direct readers to alumni events and community. On campaign case statements to link donors to leadership videos. And of course in viewbooks, for prospective students to see all kinds of up-to-date content. Are you interested in using QR codes for your institution? Please let us know so we can share samples and ideas with you.

Filed under: Communication, Higher Education, Technology

Silver and Gold

We typically don’t enter creative award contests but are fortunate in having clients who like our work enough to enter it in various international and regional shows. Recently two such entries garnered awards: Bloomsburg University Magazine won a Gold at the MarCom Awards held by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals; and a brochure developed for the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Laboratory (more commonly known as GRASP) won Silver at the CASE Accolades Awards organized the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Please let us know if you would like us to send you a copy of either piece.

 

Filed under: Design, Higher Education