Michael R. Quinlan $40-million gift to Loyola's School of Business
We received official word of a $40-million gift to Loyola's School of Business three weeks prior to Founders' Dinner, an annual event to celebrate people who have contributed a great deal to Loyola. The decision was made to announce the gift publically at the dinner, which necessitated a speedy and efficient collaboration among staff in Advancement, University Marketing and Communication, and the Quinlan School of Business. This presented several challenges:
- Keeping the announcement private until Founders' Dinner
- Communicating a major gift and school naming with less than a month's lead time
- Announcing the gift on a Saturday night, an off time for media traffic
Our communication strategy split into four distinct iterations: communications at Founders' Dinner to support the gift announcement, communications to the media and internal audiences, web and media support including a redesign of the school website timed with the gift announcement, and signage and celebrations at the school. The story was pitched and accepted as an exclusive by the Chicago Tribune on the condition that it would be embargoed until after the announcement at Founders' Dinner. Additional communications were carefully coordinated, including web-related stories and promos, e-mail blasts, and social media. For the building housing the School of Business, Maguire Hall, we scheduled temporary signage installation for the morning after the announcement.
- All communications and personnel were ready by Friday, June 1, 2012.
- The gift was announced publicly at Founders' Dinner at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, 2012.
- On Sunday morning, the Chicago Tribune ran an exclusive in their web and print editions. We published an online story at Inside Loyola announcing the gift as well as a Loyola homepage promotion and link to the story on Inside Loyola, both around 7:00 a.m. Within an hour, coordinated e-mail blasts were then sent to University VIPs and alumni, including a separate e-mail to alumni of the School of Business.
- Early Sunday morning, temporary signage was erected on Maguire Hall, home of the School of Business.
- On Monday, ads trumpeting the gift were placed in Crain's Chicago Business and the Chicago Tribune.
- By Monday, faculty, staff, and students returning to campus were greeted with new signage, websites, e-mails, plasma screen updates, balloons, and social media updates about the gift and naming.
- Throughout the following week, due to continued pitching, the story was picked up in many print and broadcast channels.