Quite simply, Butler University has a history of great success by doing things differently.
When Butler University was founded in 1855, Ovid Butler held the core belief that higher education should be available to all people, regardless of race, gender, or religious affiliation. In pre-civil war America, that was a bold idea.
More recently, Butler University leadership has moved boldly and decisively to preserve a dynamic Butler education in an era when many small private liberal arts institutions have been closing their doors.
In mid-2017, Butler embarked on the initial phases of their campaign—leveraging the national attention from their NCAA basketball success to make significant progress in increasing student enrollment, launching new academic programs, building new residence halls, and growing the campus footprint.
Fast-forward to October 5, 2019, when Butler announced its new strategic direction and launched the public phase of the Butler Beyond campaign. This $250 million comprehensive fundraising campaign is the largest philanthropic endeavor to date for the private university.
The bold and innovative campaign launch was the culminating event in a partnership between Advancement Resources and the Butler campaign team to design, develop, and produce a fully customized event for the Butler community. Throughout the partnership, which began in May 2018, Advancement Resources and Butler defined the full campaign launch event experience—what the attendees would see, hear, feel, and remember about the launch.
Butler designed a pre-event reception to showcase the newest building on campus, which is home to the Andre B. Lacy School of Business. Attendees then walked across the mall and entered Clowes Memorial Hall for the main event. Following the main event, the evening wrapped up with live music and a dessert reception on the East Mall.
The campaign launch main event was designed to clearly communicate the fundraising priorities for Butler Beyond, while also educating alumni, students, and the community about the importance of philanthropy at Butler. The three campaign pillars of student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships were developed with not only the leadership team, but also faculty, staff, students, and community leaders. This comprehensive buy-in creates a tremendous opportunity for engaging and inspiring potential donors.
The live event included remarks from faculty, students, donors, and university leadership. Butler’s renowned Jordan College of the Arts was featured through outstanding performances by Butler Ballet, Butler University Choirs, and Butler Symphony Orchestra. The live performances were complemented by compelling visual storytelling films created by the Advancement Resources creative team. But the event would have been far from complete without a moment in the spotlight for Butler Blue III, a.k.a. “Trip,” Butler’s official bulldog mascot, who perfectly showcases Butler’s culture. The culminating moment was the audience’s spontaneous standing ovation inspired by the passionate words of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, the performance of local opera talent Angela Brown, and the voices of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir.
In all, the entire campaign launch experience wrapped the Butler Beyond campaign and the vision for the future in a beautiful Butler-blue bow right before the eyes of Bulldog alumni, faculty, students, and members of the Indianapolis community.
It was our privilege to work with you. We are still basking in the afterglow and receiving a steady flow of incredibly positive outreach from alumni, donors and community members. And, the media coverage has been outstanding. The event did exactly what we needed it to do—deliver a passionate and well-articulated vision for the future that invites our audience to support that vision through their philanthropy. Thanks for creating this powerful platform upon which we can build our University’s future.
—Jonathan Purvis, CFRE, Vice President for Advancement
Success to create and produce any one of these live events, let alone all of them with precision timing, requires solid communication, an expert and experienced team, and dedicated focus by the campaign team and all your partners.
Visit our Strategic Events page or contact us to learn more about how we can assist you in designing and executing an impactful donor-centric event.