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Dec. 28, 2021

Finding Donors and a Shrinking Higher Education Market

Finding Donors and a Shrinking Higher Education Market

It’s no secret: The market for higher education is shrinking. And whether that’s a seminary, graduate school, or a small private college, everyone is looking for ways to pull in more prospective students.

One way in this post-pandemic era — hybrid virtual events.

From Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary: Joe Emmick, Vice President for Development, and Shane Nichols, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer discuss the shrinking market in higher ed, finding new enrollment opportunities, and the importance of one-on-one conversations.

Join us as we discuss:

- The shrinking market for higher education

- Enrollment opportunities & merger history

- Key takeaways for the audience

To hear more interviews like this one, subscribe to Higher Ed Marketer on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your preferred podcast platform.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Higher Ed Marketer in your favorite podcast player.

The Higher Ed Marketer podcast is sponsored by Caylor Solutions, an Education Marketing and Branding Agency, and by Think Patented, a Marketing Execution, Printing and Mailing provider of Higher Ed solutions.

    

 

Transcript
WEBVTT 1 00:00:00.120 --> 00:00:05.599 One of the things that we are hearing from our alumni who are working church 2 00:00:05.679 --> 00:00:13.349 pastors is they are overwhelmed just trying to get people back to church. You 3 00:00:13.429 --> 00:00:17.710 are listening to the Higher Ed Marketer, a podcast geared towards marketing professionals in 4 00:00:17.750 --> 00:00:22.859 higher education. This show will tackle all sorts of questions related to student recruitment, 5 00:00:23.140 --> 00:00:27.579 don'tor relations, marketing trends, new technologies and so much more. If 6 00:00:27.620 --> 00:00:31.859 you are looking for conversations centered around where the industry is going, this podcast 7 00:00:31.899 --> 00:00:41.409 is for you. Let's get into the show. Welcome to the HIRRID marketer 8 00:00:41.570 --> 00:00:45.530 podcast. I'm troy singer, along with my cohost and total tamer, Mark 9 00:00:45.609 --> 00:00:51.200 Taylor. Today we talked to Joe EMMIC and Shane Nichols from Garrett Evangelical Theological 10 00:00:51.240 --> 00:00:56.159 Seminary About Grad School marketing. Yeah, Troy, this was a good conversation. 11 00:00:56.240 --> 00:01:00.799 I think that there's so many different schools are relying. Either there their 12 00:01:00.880 --> 00:01:06.790 graduate schools and seminaries alone, like like Garrett is, or they are the 13 00:01:06.909 --> 00:01:10.709 graduate and the graduate programs are, you know, and a thend them to 14 00:01:11.269 --> 00:01:14.829 colleges and universities and a lot of a lot of schools are using those to 15 00:01:14.909 --> 00:01:19.219 kind of bolster up and kind of impact the bottom line. And I think 16 00:01:19.260 --> 00:01:23.420 one of the good conversations that we had today was just about the uniqueness of 17 00:01:23.500 --> 00:01:29.739 being able to market and do communications for graduate level schools, whether it's a 18 00:01:29.739 --> 00:01:32.739 seminary, whether it's your graduate school of Medicine or whatever it might be. 19 00:01:33.409 --> 00:01:36.329 But I think there's a unique aspect of how to market that not only for 20 00:01:36.450 --> 00:01:40.409 enrollment standpoint, but also communicate it for development. So it's a really good 21 00:01:40.409 --> 00:01:45.129 conversation to hear how Joe, the Vice President of development, works really closely 22 00:01:45.170 --> 00:01:49.319 with Shane Nichols, who's the director of marketing at Garrett. Thanks part. 23 00:01:49.719 --> 00:01:56.200 Let's get into the conversation with Shane and Joe. It is my pleasure to 24 00:01:56.280 --> 00:02:00.510 welcome Joe EMMIC and Shane Nichols to the High Ed Marketer podcast. They are 25 00:02:00.590 --> 00:02:06.950 coming to us from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. And Gentlemen, if I one 26 00:02:07.030 --> 00:02:12.310 of you would just give us a brief overview of Garrett and then individually, 27 00:02:12.349 --> 00:02:15.819 if you can tell us your roles. Sure, Garrett even jolical hide seminary. 28 00:02:15.819 --> 00:02:21.500 We are founded in one thousand eight hundred fifty three and we reside smackdab 29 00:02:21.539 --> 00:02:24.340 in the middle of the campus of northwestern university in Evanston Illinois. We and 30 00:02:24.460 --> 00:02:30.210 essence grew up together. We do maintain our own identity and our own faculty, 31 00:02:30.610 --> 00:02:34.729 but share a lot of resources with northwestern university and our primary objective is 32 00:02:34.849 --> 00:02:40.289 to prepare religious and faith leaders for Ministry and the Church and in the academy 33 00:02:40.490 --> 00:02:45.240 and the world. So a variety of ministry setting and what have you. 34 00:02:45.840 --> 00:02:49.719 Thank you, Shane. And how many students do you currently serve? We 35 00:02:49.960 --> 00:02:53.479 serve on average about four hundred students a year. Thank you, and we 36 00:02:53.599 --> 00:02:55.759 are speaking to Shane. What is your role at Garrett? Sure? I 37 00:02:55.840 --> 00:03:01.430 am the Chief Marketing Communications Officer at Gary Evangelical. This is actually this months 38 00:03:01.509 --> 00:03:06.189 my seventeen year. Starting my seventeen year here at the seminary and when I 39 00:03:06.270 --> 00:03:08.710 started I was doing a lot in the LUMB relations and development and in two 40 00:03:08.750 --> 00:03:14.340 thousand and ten started heading up the marketing and communications office and have been in 41 00:03:14.419 --> 00:03:17.219 that role ever since. Thank you, Shane. We also have JOE EMMIC 42 00:03:17.340 --> 00:03:21.419 with us. Hello, Joe, I try high bar. Good to see 43 00:03:21.419 --> 00:03:24.379 you guys again. Thank you great seeing you with you could let the listeners 44 00:03:24.500 --> 00:03:29.849 know what your role is and then we'll get started with the conversation. Sure, 45 00:03:30.330 --> 00:03:35.330 I serve the seminary as the vice president for development and that entails all 46 00:03:35.569 --> 00:03:42.159 the traditional roles and responsibilities that someone responsible for fundraising and alumni engagement has a 47 00:03:42.280 --> 00:03:46.560 higher education. I have been in a higher at advancement work for almost twenty 48 00:03:46.639 --> 00:03:52.879 five years. But while Shane is one of Garrett's grizzled veterans, I'm a 49 00:03:52.919 --> 00:03:57.110 relatively new addition to the team. I've been with Garrett for three and a 50 00:03:57.110 --> 00:04:00.229 half years. Great and just just so everybody knows, that Joe and I 51 00:04:00.349 --> 00:04:04.030 have worked together before. We known each other for several years and so it's 52 00:04:04.030 --> 00:04:06.389 good to good to get back together with you. Joe. Thanks for being 53 00:04:06.430 --> 00:04:10.300 on the show. I think when we've first talking, you know, before 54 00:04:10.300 --> 00:04:13.939 we got onto the recording, talking a little bit about, I think, 55 00:04:14.180 --> 00:04:16.660 Garrett and seminaries in general, and I don't want it. I don't want 56 00:04:16.660 --> 00:04:20.220 people to think about, Oh, this is just a podcast about seminaries, 57 00:04:20.300 --> 00:04:24.259 but it's actually a little bit broader because I think one of the challenges that 58 00:04:24.290 --> 00:04:28.810 a lot of schools have is that whether you're a seminary, a graduate school 59 00:04:28.810 --> 00:04:31.730 or even a small private. There's a challenge because the market seems to be 60 00:04:31.810 --> 00:04:35.250 getting smaller and shrinking. Sometimes our audiences do, and so one of the 61 00:04:35.250 --> 00:04:40.000 things that I wanted to just kind of start the conversation about is how are 62 00:04:40.000 --> 00:04:43.120 you at Garrett? You know both Shane and Joe. How are you both 63 00:04:43.199 --> 00:04:47.079 kind of addressing this idea of a shrinking market and shrieking audiences? Because, 64 00:04:47.120 --> 00:04:51.399 I mean, it's happening everywhere. Yeah, absolutely certainly happening everywhere, and 65 00:04:51.680 --> 00:04:56.949 I'll signs at this point in time keep pointing that it will only get smaller. 66 00:04:57.350 --> 00:05:00.389 So the challenges are real and something we take a look at. The 67 00:05:00.870 --> 00:05:05.189 biggest thing for us that we do is events, and what I mean by 68 00:05:05.269 --> 00:05:09.220 that is how, you know, how do we get the institution in front 69 00:05:09.220 --> 00:05:13.699 of people that may not even know that Garrett is a thing right? And 70 00:05:13.860 --> 00:05:17.500 so, from our development stance, we spend a lot of efforts on ministry 71 00:05:17.500 --> 00:05:20.970 Sundays, which is an opportunity to be able to, you know, honor 72 00:05:21.009 --> 00:05:27.449 a particular alum or pastor so that we can then introduce the seminary to congregations 73 00:05:27.610 --> 00:05:30.329 from the admission side of the House. This last fall we've hosted five different 74 00:05:30.370 --> 00:05:36.319 events that we're all hybrid online events to be able to introduce perspective new students, 75 00:05:36.360 --> 00:05:40.439 and so for us it's about getting the institution in front of people and 76 00:05:40.560 --> 00:05:44.720 doing so with engaging content and events is one of the primary ways that we've 77 00:05:44.720 --> 00:05:48.680 really been able to go at that to expand our audience. And then, 78 00:05:48.720 --> 00:05:51.870 of course we're doing all the traditional things you would expect from a marketing office 79 00:05:53.310 --> 00:05:58.149 and the way of paid advertising, social media and engaging content, stories, 80 00:05:58.230 --> 00:06:00.790 website creation, all those good fun things that you would expect to do, 81 00:06:00.870 --> 00:06:04.459 and so so we do a lot of that on top of trying to just 82 00:06:05.139 --> 00:06:09.660 tell the story to any and everybody. That's great and I guess I would 83 00:06:09.660 --> 00:06:12.459 ask you joke, as I'm gonna here in what Shane is saying is that 84 00:06:13.019 --> 00:06:15.740 you know a lot of times you're kind of going, I like to call 85 00:06:15.819 --> 00:06:17.970 it the watering holes that your perspective, perspective audiences is, whether it's your 86 00:06:18.009 --> 00:06:23.529 prospective students or prospective donors. I love the fact that you know the watering 87 00:06:23.569 --> 00:06:27.129 hole for Garrett seems to be these churches that you can do these ministry Sundays 88 00:06:27.170 --> 00:06:30.370 or ways to honor some of your alumnist has that been a successful strategy as 89 00:06:30.370 --> 00:06:35.160 far as these watering holes joke. Historically, the ministry Sundays Shane described have 90 00:06:35.360 --> 00:06:43.240 been incredibly successful for us. So the way they work is we identify alumni 91 00:06:43.439 --> 00:06:46.790 who are pastors in milestone years or their ministry. It's almost like a class 92 00:06:46.829 --> 00:06:53.829 reunion list and we take nominations for them to be honored with a ministry Sunday. 93 00:06:53.829 --> 00:06:57.829 It's really honoring somebody, for example, who's had a very effective ministry 94 00:06:57.870 --> 00:07:02.139 for twenty five years or thirty years. The seminary then establish as a scholarship 95 00:07:02.339 --> 00:07:08.139 in that person's name. We put in the first thousand dollars and then we 96 00:07:08.300 --> 00:07:13.060 invite members of the congregation to contribute to the scholar Orship Fund. We have 97 00:07:13.420 --> 00:07:18.730 over six hundred individual and dowed scholarship funds guaranty evangelical and a good number of 98 00:07:18.850 --> 00:07:25.329 those were started through these ministry Sunday programs. The challenge we have Right now 99 00:07:25.649 --> 00:07:30.680 is with ministry Sundays is really covid related. So one of the things that 100 00:07:30.920 --> 00:07:36.480 we are hearing from how our alumni who are working church pastors is they are 101 00:07:36.480 --> 00:07:42.120 overwhelmed just trying to get people back to church. So even as churches reopened 102 00:07:42.800 --> 00:07:47.430 people sort of liked online church and people have continued to attend church online rather 103 00:07:47.470 --> 00:07:54.189 than coming back to the pews. Pastors are reluctant to bring in any sort 104 00:07:54.230 --> 00:08:00.139 of outside endeavor at this point. So where we in the past maybe did 105 00:08:00.139 --> 00:08:03.019 anywhere from six to eight of these in a year, where maybe doing two 106 00:08:03.060 --> 00:08:07.060 or three or four this year. I'm hopeful that will change in the spring. 107 00:08:07.660 --> 00:08:11.860 So historically it's been successful. It's been a great way to identify new 108 00:08:11.930 --> 00:08:16.529 donors and the last year or so it's been a little more difficult just because 109 00:08:16.529 --> 00:08:20.129 of the access to churches, because of COVID. And I guess, Shane, 110 00:08:20.129 --> 00:08:24.490 are you finding opportunities even from an enrollment standpoint at some of these Sundays 111 00:08:24.490 --> 00:08:30.079 as well? Yes, we have. It's it's a great opportunity to do 112 00:08:30.160 --> 00:08:35.639 some crossover between the work of development and admissions and enrollment. So so there's 113 00:08:35.679 --> 00:08:39.279 definitely a possibilities there. I will say, to go back to original question, 114 00:08:39.399 --> 00:08:43.110 we also, of course, we spend a lot of time working with 115 00:08:43.230 --> 00:08:48.070 a lums and they our biggest influencers time and time again. So we hear 116 00:08:48.190 --> 00:08:54.230 often from our current students. You know why, Garrett, and often, 117 00:08:54.269 --> 00:08:56.740 time and time again, they will say because an a lum said, go 118 00:08:56.899 --> 00:08:58.500 check out Garrett. So so we spend a lot of time and effort there 119 00:08:58.539 --> 00:09:01.700 and so then with these ministry Sundays, being able to honor a lum's it 120 00:09:01.820 --> 00:09:07.179 just helps that cycle of potential students come through. So so that piece has 121 00:09:07.179 --> 00:09:11.129 been great for us. Yeah, it's a little bit of a the classic 122 00:09:11.250 --> 00:09:13.450 networking in a lot of ways. I mean it's the idea of who knows 123 00:09:13.490 --> 00:09:18.330 who and how can you connect those people together, and I'm sure that your 124 00:09:18.370 --> 00:09:22.450 other marketing plays into that, whether it's paper, click or or digital or 125 00:09:22.490 --> 00:09:24.360 other things, that you've got a brand awareness that you're building. But then 126 00:09:24.399 --> 00:09:28.120 actually to be on side on a Sunday or have a pastor be able to 127 00:09:28.200 --> 00:09:31.360 say go check out Garrett, I think that does make a big difference. 128 00:09:31.360 --> 00:09:35.600 So that's that's a pretty cool way to go about it. Speaking of the 129 00:09:35.320 --> 00:09:41.870 why, Garrett, in previous conversations we've talked about the different branding and communication 130 00:09:41.990 --> 00:09:48.429 messages that you have to have for the different types of people that you're speaking 131 00:09:48.509 --> 00:09:50.190 to, because I think they're in your history. There was a merger. 132 00:09:50.389 --> 00:09:56.059 So if you could kind of give everyone a history, or should I say 133 00:09:56.580 --> 00:10:01.419 description of that history and that merger and then we can talk about the challenges 134 00:10:01.539 --> 00:10:07.139 that it gives you in when you're going out to talk to them, speak 135 00:10:07.139 --> 00:10:11.929 to them in market and develop troy. I appreciate your giving Shane to me 136 00:10:11.009 --> 00:10:16.610 the opportunity to talk about this because I think it's a fascinating case study in 137 00:10:16.730 --> 00:10:22.200 higher at branding and audience identification. Some of this is going to make the 138 00:10:22.360 --> 00:10:28.320 traditional branding folks out there listening a little squeamish, I think what I describe 139 00:10:28.399 --> 00:10:31.279 what we do, but it really does work for us. So some quick 140 00:10:31.320 --> 00:10:35.870 history. As you mentioned troy, our current seminary, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, 141 00:10:37.470 --> 00:10:41.269 is really the merger of two seminaries. So some quick church history. 142 00:10:41.830 --> 00:10:48.269 The United Methodist Church was formed in the late s when what was then the 143 00:10:48.509 --> 00:10:54.580 Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren, more commonly known as the EUB, 144 00:10:54.179 --> 00:11:00.019 to form the United Methodist Church. At the time, Garrett Biblical institute 145 00:11:00.059 --> 00:11:03.940 at Evans to Illinois, where we are now, was the methodist seminary in 146 00:11:03.019 --> 00:11:09.129 the Chicago area and Evangelical Theological Seminary in Naperville Illinois and the West suburbs of 147 00:11:09.210 --> 00:11:16.970 Chicago was the eub seminary and of course it didn't seem necessary to have two 148 00:11:16.049 --> 00:11:22.399 seminaries for one denomination in the same metro area. So the two seminaries merged 149 00:11:22.440 --> 00:11:28.360 and it became what we are now, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. Our Name 150 00:11:28.559 --> 00:11:33.269 is hyphenated, so it's Garrett Evangelical and that's a pretty much a historic name 151 00:11:33.389 --> 00:11:37.230 for us. That merger happened in the early to mid S, so we 152 00:11:37.350 --> 00:11:43.549 still have a lot of living alumni from the former evangelical theological seminary and the 153 00:11:43.669 --> 00:11:50.980 former eub denomination, and I like to call this perhaps the most successful merger 154 00:11:50.100 --> 00:11:58.779 in the history of higher education, because those alumni from the former ets are 155 00:11:58.980 --> 00:12:03.570 very loyal, they're very faithful, very generous. We have several members of 156 00:12:03.610 --> 00:12:05.610 our board of trustees who are from that seminary. We have a lot of 157 00:12:05.690 --> 00:12:11.409 leadership owners who are from that seminary, and so it is important for us 158 00:12:11.889 --> 00:12:16.799 to honor that legacy and honor that name. As you might imagine, in 159 00:12:16.960 --> 00:12:22.639 our current political climate, though, from a recruiting standpoint, the word evangelical 160 00:12:22.759 --> 00:12:28.600 and its connotations work against us more often than not, and so we really 161 00:12:28.679 --> 00:12:33.509 have dual branding at the seminary. All of developments, materials are business cards. 162 00:12:33.590 --> 00:12:39.470 The way we identify ourselves and where we work is Garrett Evangelical and if 163 00:12:39.509 --> 00:12:43.309 we don't identify ourselves that way people call us on it. So it's very 164 00:12:43.350 --> 00:12:48.980 important to maintain that legacy for our admissions folks. Sometimes people walk right by 165 00:12:48.259 --> 00:12:52.419 the event table if they see the word evangelical. And so my colleagues and 166 00:12:52.460 --> 00:12:58.139 admissions, their materials, their business cards, the way in which they identify 167 00:12:58.259 --> 00:13:05.649 themselves is Garrett theological seminary. So we almost really have two branding tracks and 168 00:13:05.809 --> 00:13:09.529 marks here at the seminary. Bart, I realize that is not branding one 169 00:13:09.570 --> 00:13:13.799 hundred and one and any traditional way, but it is critically important for us 170 00:13:13.919 --> 00:13:18.120 and it works. Yeah, I think that's interesting. I mean I we 171 00:13:18.240 --> 00:13:22.360 have, you know, we've got guests all across the spectrum and we talked 172 00:13:22.399 --> 00:13:24.879 with Asbury, which is the Evangelical Seminary, a few weeks ago and they 173 00:13:24.919 --> 00:13:28.190 told us a bit about how they market. This is a different audience and 174 00:13:28.350 --> 00:13:31.350 so you know, as I'm as I'm having some of the listeners listening, 175 00:13:31.990 --> 00:13:37.309 there's different audiences and I think this is part of marketing higher education is knowing 176 00:13:37.350 --> 00:13:41.309 who your audience is, being able to market to your audience effectively, to 177 00:13:41.389 --> 00:13:45.220 be able to match up the mission fit students. You know, Amission fit 178 00:13:45.340 --> 00:13:48.980 student that might be going to moody isn't going to necessarily be looking at Garrett. 179 00:13:48.139 --> 00:13:52.460 The same with Garrett students are not going to be looking at Moody and 180 00:13:52.580 --> 00:13:56.649 sing being able to differentiate yourselves through branding is going to be critical so that 181 00:13:56.049 --> 00:14:00.769 your admissions team and you're not burning through the admissions team on a lot of 182 00:14:00.809 --> 00:14:03.529 people that are not naturally going to fit. And so I think, I 183 00:14:03.730 --> 00:14:05.330 think part of it is in Shane, you can kind of way into this. 184 00:14:05.370 --> 00:14:09.919 Is really being able to position yourself in a way that you can be 185 00:14:11.399 --> 00:14:15.240 authentic who you are to the audience that's going to be your tribe that's going 186 00:14:15.240 --> 00:14:18.360 to come and join you and making that as clear as possible. And I 187 00:14:18.440 --> 00:14:22.080 think, yeah, Joe, to your point, it's not it's not historical 188 00:14:22.200 --> 00:14:26.230 branding, but is solving a problem of branding and I think that's really good. 189 00:14:26.309 --> 00:14:28.990 Shane, what do you think? Yeah, I think that's absolutely right 190 00:14:28.110 --> 00:14:33.149 and I will say we have, mean for several years, several decades now, 191 00:14:33.230 --> 00:14:37.470 we have take the initial effort just to even define the word evangelical and 192 00:14:37.549 --> 00:14:41.179 what that means here in our context, right. So, to Joe's point, 193 00:14:41.220 --> 00:14:46.500 yes, very much. It is in relation to ets and the merger 194 00:14:46.940 --> 00:14:50.379 that beyond that, we mean we've done some campaigns where we were so far 195 00:14:50.419 --> 00:14:54.250 as back to go back to the original Greek right and the Greek meeting of 196 00:14:54.289 --> 00:14:58.009 the Word Evangelical, and so so we've tried to do our peace and educating 197 00:14:58.250 --> 00:15:01.970 perspective students and a variety of constituents that we serve in what that word really 198 00:15:01.970 --> 00:15:07.399 means here within our context. Right. But despite all of those efforts, 199 00:15:07.639 --> 00:15:11.600 with the political climate as it is, you can imagine that is truly a 200 00:15:11.639 --> 00:15:16.120 David and Goliath type situation. Yeah, it is. I mean that that 201 00:15:16.240 --> 00:15:18.679 word is actually gotten hijacked. Yeah, opinion. Yeah, so I thought 202 00:15:20.200 --> 00:15:22.029 that. Can speak to that absolutely. So that really did put us in 203 00:15:22.309 --> 00:15:26.190 a position of having to really think through then, exactly, as you say, 204 00:15:26.389 --> 00:15:30.389 who is our audience and how do we make sure that we're getting the 205 00:15:30.429 --> 00:15:33.350 right fit for for who the kind of student is that we're looking to serve? 206 00:15:33.669 --> 00:15:35.980 Great and I know that you know some of the things too. I 207 00:15:37.059 --> 00:15:39.580 know when we talked earlier, just the idea of part of that just differentiating 208 00:15:39.620 --> 00:15:43.740 your brand, and I think that Joey did a great job describing that on 209 00:15:43.860 --> 00:15:46.500 how you've done that, just even through business cards and things like that, 210 00:15:46.059 --> 00:15:50.809 but also being able to recognize these different audiences in those different generation groups in 211 00:15:50.850 --> 00:15:54.210 the alumni base, and then also being able to even recognize, I guess, 212 00:15:54.330 --> 00:15:58.809 that not all your donors are going to come from your your alumni base, 213 00:15:58.889 --> 00:16:00.169 and so being able to pivot and maybe do a little bit of a 214 00:16:00.210 --> 00:16:03.649 dance with the brand to is important. Is that? Is that kind of 215 00:16:03.730 --> 00:16:07.879 way you find it, Joe when you are communicating, I do bar and 216 00:16:07.080 --> 00:16:11.519 I think that's less about the overall brand and more about how we tell the 217 00:16:11.600 --> 00:16:18.279 story. So I mentioned you in an earlier conversation. We have a relatively 218 00:16:18.629 --> 00:16:23.389 small donor base because we're a relatively small institution as a seminary, but it's 219 00:16:23.549 --> 00:16:27.389 one of the most complex donor bases I've worked with, just for the reasons 220 00:16:27.429 --> 00:16:33.500 you described. So we have our alumni, who have been incredibly generous and 221 00:16:33.580 --> 00:16:37.139 faithful over the years. We've always enjoyed a relatively high alumni giving percentage, 222 00:16:37.179 --> 00:16:44.019 as you might imagine, most of our alumni are pastors and so their current 223 00:16:44.100 --> 00:16:48.250 giving capacity is not huge by most major gift standards, but they give and 224 00:16:48.370 --> 00:16:53.370 they give generously to their capacity. That also puts them at a position of 225 00:16:53.490 --> 00:16:56.809 being good playing giving donors down the road. So we also have a very 226 00:16:56.889 --> 00:17:03.000 robust plan giving pipeline. Are major gifts, are major outright gives. Those 227 00:17:03.119 --> 00:17:07.440 in particularly that of driven campaigns, as folks might also imagine. Typically of 228 00:17:07.599 --> 00:17:12.559 come from lay folks who've been introduced to us through the ways we talked about 229 00:17:12.640 --> 00:17:18.509 earlier, and so those really are two different approaches to connecting people at the 230 00:17:18.549 --> 00:17:22.349 seminary. You know, when we engage our alumni it's just like engaging alumni 231 00:17:22.549 --> 00:17:27.069 elsewhere and higher at advancement. It's understanding what their experience was here. It's 232 00:17:27.150 --> 00:17:33.059 trying to find the right marriage between their interests and their good feelings about their 233 00:17:33.140 --> 00:17:37.259 experience here and the ways in which the seminary prepared them to be effective in 234 00:17:37.259 --> 00:17:44.849 their ministry. For Our laydowners it tends to be more broadly about good clergy 235 00:17:44.930 --> 00:17:49.730 leadership and the church. So most of the lay folks who support us either 236 00:17:49.930 --> 00:17:53.490 had family members who are garret graduates, they were preachers kids or they got 237 00:17:53.529 --> 00:17:57.450 a grandparent who is a Garret Grad and they want to honor that legacy, 238 00:17:57.529 --> 00:18:03.160 or they are people of faith who have been influenced in a positive way by 239 00:18:03.240 --> 00:18:07.400 a pastor who is a Garret Grad and they want there to continue to be 240 00:18:07.640 --> 00:18:14.869 good clergy leaders in the Church and that's what drives their philanthropy to get evangelical. 241 00:18:15.029 --> 00:18:18.789 So those are those are two slightly different stories to tell and points of 242 00:18:18.869 --> 00:18:22.349 engagement within our donor base. And then Shane might be able to comment on 243 00:18:22.470 --> 00:18:27.059 this as well. He's Garret graduate as well. I think even among our 244 00:18:27.140 --> 00:18:33.900 alumni were starting to see some differences, marked differences generationally, and I think 245 00:18:33.980 --> 00:18:38.500 that's largely because of the way in which ministry has changed over the last ten 246 00:18:38.579 --> 00:18:44.849 to fifteen years and will continue to change. So our mid career, two 247 00:18:44.849 --> 00:18:52.210 older alumni went through very traditional seminary education and went into very traditional church pastor 248 00:18:52.250 --> 00:19:00.279 roles. Are More recent alumni and our future alumni are in degree programs that 249 00:19:00.319 --> 00:19:04.480 are more diverse than a master's of divinity. They are engaged in ministries that 250 00:19:04.519 --> 00:19:11.190 are very different than leading a church as a pastor and I think that changes 251 00:19:11.910 --> 00:19:15.549 the way we think about engaging them relative to their experience at the seminary and 252 00:19:15.710 --> 00:19:19.430 that it also changes the way we reach them and connect with them in what 253 00:19:19.509 --> 00:19:23.539 are very different ministries than we've seen in the past. Yeah, I'll pick 254 00:19:23.539 --> 00:19:27.660 up on them to say it's the marketing transenter on targeting right. We've been 255 00:19:27.700 --> 00:19:33.779 having to target around here for quite some time and that work, it only 256 00:19:33.859 --> 00:19:37.700 gets only becomes more so. Target, target, target, is a lot 257 00:19:37.740 --> 00:19:41.210 of what's behind how we brand and who we communicate to. That's great and 258 00:19:41.289 --> 00:19:45.170 I that kind of brings me to the last conversation that I wanted to have 259 00:19:45.289 --> 00:19:48.849 with you was the idea that we talked about targeting and talking about we talked 260 00:19:48.890 --> 00:19:51.529 about the watering holes and some of the other things in different ways of marketing 261 00:19:51.650 --> 00:19:55.720 to to this this this post traditional audience. You know, folks who are 262 00:19:55.759 --> 00:20:00.880 graduate level. It's different, and I'd like to have you talk to this, 263 00:20:00.000 --> 00:20:03.359 Shane and Joe. It's different how you're going to be marketing to graduate 264 00:20:03.400 --> 00:20:07.509 students then you would to traditional undergrads. I mean traditional under grads. You 265 00:20:07.549 --> 00:20:11.470 know, you got act test your sat tests. Even though they're going test 266 00:20:11.549 --> 00:20:15.589 optional, there's still places you can go and buy lists and you can. 267 00:20:15.230 --> 00:20:18.390 You still have the college fairs, you still have some other things, but 268 00:20:18.430 --> 00:20:21.740 it's a different it's a different ball game when you get to the graduate marketing. 269 00:20:21.859 --> 00:20:23.099 So Shane tells a little bit about that. I mean, I know 270 00:20:23.220 --> 00:20:26.420 that's something that's ongoing, but what's you're thinking on that? Yeah, we're 271 00:20:26.420 --> 00:20:32.700 definitely work in progress forever. But I will say it just thinking through list, 272 00:20:32.779 --> 00:20:36.609 as you said that you know I there are traditional list that we can 273 00:20:36.650 --> 00:20:41.410 get from denominational structures in right right for those who are pursuing ordination, would 274 00:20:41.410 --> 00:20:45.410 have you. So. So in those ways there's some access to list that 275 00:20:45.490 --> 00:20:48.809 we would have and we have had to for four decades. But those list 276 00:20:48.930 --> 00:20:52.480 honestly, are shrinking right. They are less people who are going and pursuing 277 00:20:52.519 --> 00:20:56.720 ordination and wanting to work in the church, and so that really forces us 278 00:20:56.720 --> 00:21:00.640 to do than have to rethink. Where do we find new audiences? And 279 00:21:00.839 --> 00:21:03.920 so again, part of that is event driven, a part of that is 280 00:21:03.000 --> 00:21:08.069 is traditional marketing, messaging and what have you. And beyond that we have 281 00:21:08.309 --> 00:21:15.150 got the same way the someone at the undergraduate level might recruit at high schools. 282 00:21:15.309 --> 00:21:19.700 We often find ourselves recruiting at colleges right so we've got a recruiter who's 283 00:21:19.700 --> 00:21:26.539 going out and covering as many universities, in particular their campus ministries are their 284 00:21:26.900 --> 00:21:30.740 departments of religion, and trying to meet with them as much as possible. 285 00:21:30.859 --> 00:21:36.170 So so there is a heavy recruitment that happens, and so for us, 286 00:21:36.690 --> 00:21:37.849 the biggest thing, I would say I'm behind all of that, is it 287 00:21:38.130 --> 00:21:41.769 comes down to trying to hit marketing messaging would have you at a large level, 288 00:21:41.930 --> 00:21:45.170 but honestly, the vast majority of this work happens on one to one 289 00:21:45.250 --> 00:21:51.640 conversations. Right. It's all about relationship building and that is what has been 290 00:21:52.160 --> 00:21:57.400 at the center of both our development and enrollment efforts has been that one to 291 00:21:57.559 --> 00:22:02.789 one conversation. Isn't that interesting that with all of our technology today, and 292 00:22:02.829 --> 00:22:06.710 you know, we talked about all these different systems and crms that can do 293 00:22:06.789 --> 00:22:10.029 all this automation, which I believe and I think it's important. But the 294 00:22:10.109 --> 00:22:14.150 reason I think automation is important it is to free up the individuals to have 295 00:22:14.230 --> 00:22:18.019 the one to one conversations, and it seems to me that's something you guys 296 00:22:18.019 --> 00:22:21.539 are cleaning into. Yeah, I really I will tell you, having again 297 00:22:21.700 --> 00:22:25.460 worked in the development side of the of this work. We have been blessed 298 00:22:25.500 --> 00:22:30.289 with a robust development program here at the seminary for some time and you know, 299 00:22:30.410 --> 00:22:33.609 other seminaries would call us and they would ask what do you do, 300 00:22:33.650 --> 00:22:37.009 and I think they would often be disappointed because our response was we spoke to 301 00:22:37.089 --> 00:22:41.130 someone and asked. Like I think they were hoping there us some kind of 302 00:22:41.289 --> 00:22:48.079 magic tool or magic software. Yeah, but but but at the end of 303 00:22:48.119 --> 00:22:51.039 the day, you get pick up the phone, are you pay them a 304 00:22:51.079 --> 00:22:53.519 visit? Right? So that's great. Anything you would add to that, 305 00:22:53.559 --> 00:22:56.960 Joe? As far as just kind of the difference between the traditional versus the 306 00:22:57.000 --> 00:23:07.910 graduate level from a fundraising standpoint, seminary fundraising really requires very careful attention to 307 00:23:07.029 --> 00:23:15.019 stewarding the relationship. So to Shane's point about one on one conversations, developing 308 00:23:15.140 --> 00:23:19.099 long term relationships and stewarding those relationships carefully. I mean, you know you 309 00:23:19.220 --> 00:23:22.619 hear that it. You go to the case conference and you hear that right 310 00:23:22.700 --> 00:23:27.970 as fundamental for fundraising. But I think it's even more important. I Guaranty 311 00:23:29.009 --> 00:23:33.130 Evangelical. So you know we are. Most of our alums are. This 312 00:23:33.369 --> 00:23:37.049 is at best their second Alma Mater, or maybe it's their third maybe it's 313 00:23:37.089 --> 00:23:42.680 even their fourth. Our alumni, because of what they do, are engaged 314 00:23:42.759 --> 00:23:48.240 in lots of other community work, nonprofit work, and so they're getting asked 315 00:23:48.279 --> 00:23:55.829 a lot, and so maintaining the relationship and really thinking about the giving relationship 316 00:23:55.990 --> 00:24:00.710 long term. So I mentioned those scholarship funds that we have. Many of 317 00:24:00.750 --> 00:24:06.029 those scholarship funds are built over time. Rarely do we get a single gift 318 00:24:06.069 --> 00:24:10.819 to fully and dollars Scholarship Fund. Usually somebody's built that over time, and 319 00:24:11.099 --> 00:24:17.220 so it's very much just continuing to build a relationship and encourage people to continue 320 00:24:17.259 --> 00:24:21.779 to support the scholarship fund and build it over time. And so for me, 321 00:24:21.940 --> 00:24:25.849 compared to the other places I've been at a higher education, that's probably 322 00:24:25.930 --> 00:24:30.650 the biggest difference. Is the personal, ongoing personal touches to carefully steward the 323 00:24:30.730 --> 00:24:36.849 relationship are critically important, probably more so than they are other places I've been. 324 00:24:37.250 --> 00:24:41.119 That's great. Let's get to know that. So we traditionally close our 325 00:24:41.240 --> 00:24:47.079 episodes by giving our guests an opportunity to offer a final thought or a takeaway 326 00:24:47.440 --> 00:24:52.160 that could be implemented or something that you believe would be helpful to others. 327 00:24:52.240 --> 00:24:55.950 Like you that are listening and if I could start with you, Joe, 328 00:24:56.109 --> 00:25:00.029 if there's a final fin or takeaway that you like to share. So my 329 00:25:00.589 --> 00:25:07.259 philosophy about development work has always been development work is not rocket science, even 330 00:25:07.299 --> 00:25:11.660 though there's a cottage industry turning it into rocket science. At the end of 331 00:25:11.779 --> 00:25:18.339 the day it's exactly what we've been talking about. It's building relationships, it's 332 00:25:18.380 --> 00:25:23.369 telling the institution story and it's inviting people to participate with their philanthropy. And 333 00:25:23.650 --> 00:25:29.849 so I don't have a wow, innovative, cutting edge idea for you. 334 00:25:30.609 --> 00:25:34.569 What I have to suggest, particularly in the environment in which we've been raising 335 00:25:34.609 --> 00:25:37.039 money in the last year and a half, now, almost two years, 336 00:25:37.519 --> 00:25:41.680 in a time of covid is, I think this may be the most important 337 00:25:41.720 --> 00:25:48.079 moment of the last two years to make sure organizations are asking. The stock 338 00:25:48.160 --> 00:25:52.549 market is doing very well, people are giving, people are giving a higher 339 00:25:52.589 --> 00:25:56.430 levels. Lots of economic markers for a lot of people are starting to improve. 340 00:25:57.269 --> 00:26:00.910 People, I think, are in a philanthropic mood most places now. 341 00:26:00.950 --> 00:26:06.339 I think staffs are able to get out and travel again and see people facetoface. 342 00:26:06.539 --> 00:26:11.299 And so my my biggest takeaway from what we've seen this year and what 343 00:26:11.460 --> 00:26:15.900 I'm seeing more broadly as I think, a return to fundamentals. Got Out, 344 00:26:15.460 --> 00:26:19.650 see people engage and give them the opportunity to give don't be afraid to 345 00:26:19.730 --> 00:26:26.049 ask. Yeah, I really appreciate that. To Joe. So we are 346 00:26:26.450 --> 00:26:30.210 marketing communications office of two and we can geek out about tools all day long 347 00:26:30.250 --> 00:26:33.480 as well. So, but but you know, we do a lot. 348 00:26:33.519 --> 00:26:40.680 We produce a magazine four times a year. There's email strategies, there's social 349 00:26:40.680 --> 00:26:44.200 media, there's maintaining the website. You know, there's content and you know 350 00:26:44.319 --> 00:26:48.269 the whole shabbing. And so for two full time people doing that, I 351 00:26:48.349 --> 00:26:52.829 think a lot about quality and quantity. And so for us, what whenever 352 00:26:52.910 --> 00:26:56.150 somebody asked how do you well maintain? How do you do and my words 353 00:26:56.190 --> 00:27:00.309 of advice time and time again is do one thing and do it unbelievably well 354 00:27:00.940 --> 00:27:04.539 and once that's rolled within your daily habit, then pick up a second thing, 355 00:27:06.539 --> 00:27:08.740 then pick up a third thing. Right, but I always that's my 356 00:27:08.859 --> 00:27:12.500 words of advice for anyone who says in this field better to do one thing 357 00:27:12.539 --> 00:27:18.009 unbelievably well than try and do five things subpar. Thank you, Shane, 358 00:27:18.369 --> 00:27:22.049 and wow, we have microphone or while you have the microphone, would love 359 00:27:22.089 --> 00:27:26.410 to ask you if someone would like to be in contact with you or reach 360 00:27:26.490 --> 00:27:30.519 out, what would the best way for them to contact you? Be Sure 361 00:27:30.759 --> 00:27:36.839 you can find me by email at Shane Dot Nichols, at Garrett Daddy to 362 00:27:36.880 --> 00:27:41.079 you. I'm also on twitter the handles Shane, zero two, zero six, 363 00:27:41.680 --> 00:27:48.309 and you can find me on Linkedin as well. The best way to 364 00:27:48.470 --> 00:27:56.109 reach me is by email Joe Dot emmec let's, em IC K, Garrett 365 00:27:56.390 --> 00:28:02.019 Dot Edu and Garrett's to ours and to t's. I am also on various 366 00:28:02.059 --> 00:28:06.859 social media platforms and Linkedin, but I tend to be a social media stalker 367 00:28:06.940 --> 00:28:10.539 rather than poster, so I don't want to quote my handles because I'm not 368 00:28:10.619 --> 00:28:14.089 sure I got them right. Thank you both for sharing your time with us 369 00:28:14.130 --> 00:28:18.369 today. It's been a wonderful conversation. Bart do you have any final thoughts 370 00:28:18.410 --> 00:28:21.250 that you would like to share? Yeah, I just want to kind of 371 00:28:21.250 --> 00:28:25.650 echo some of what what both Joe and Shane talked about today. Getting back 372 00:28:25.650 --> 00:28:27.640 to fundamentals, I mean I think that you know a lot of what we 373 00:28:27.720 --> 00:28:30.319 talked about, whether it was on the development side or whether it was on 374 00:28:30.359 --> 00:28:34.880 the enrollment. It comes down to that marketing communications basics. Of It's all 375 00:28:34.920 --> 00:28:40.640 about relationships. I mean it's about identifying the people in the tribe and building 376 00:28:40.720 --> 00:28:45.349 relationships with them from a from a enrollment standpoint, and it's from then, 377 00:28:45.549 --> 00:28:49.029 you know, getting out and face to face and engaging in relationships with people 378 00:28:49.029 --> 00:28:53.150 on the development side and and being able to not know, both sides, 379 00:28:53.710 --> 00:28:56.619 not being afraid to ask, not being afraid to ask someone to give, 380 00:28:56.779 --> 00:29:00.460 not being afraid to ask someone to apply. Just a lot of really good 381 00:29:00.579 --> 00:29:04.819 basic things here, blocking and tackling on how to do basic higher Ed Marketing 382 00:29:04.859 --> 00:29:08.380 and I think it's a really good, really good reminder for us. So, 383 00:29:08.859 --> 00:29:11.809 Joe and Shane, thanks so much for being on the show today. 384 00:29:11.049 --> 00:29:14.289 Thank you for having us. Good to be with you. Troy and Bart. 385 00:29:14.529 --> 00:29:17.730 Yes, thank you appreciate it. That brings us to the end of 386 00:29:17.809 --> 00:29:22.009 our episode. The High Ed Marketer podcast is sponsored by Kaylo solutions in education 387 00:29:22.170 --> 00:29:26.960 marketing and Branding Agency for for twenty years and by Think Patent did, a 388 00:29:27.079 --> 00:29:33.799 marketing execution company that combines print and digital marketing for Hire Ed campaign solutions. 389 00:29:34.319 --> 00:29:38.150 On behalf of Bart Kaylor. My name is troy singer. Thanks again for 390 00:29:38.190 --> 00:29:45.349 joining us. You've been listening to the Higher Ed Marketer. To ensure that 391 00:29:45.470 --> 00:29:48.470 you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. 392 00:29:49.349 --> 00:29:52.619 If you're listening with apple PODCASTS, we'd love for you to leave a 393 00:29:52.619 --> 00:29:56.140 quick rating of the show. Simply tap the number of stars you think the 394 00:29:56.180 --> 00:29:59.660 podcast deserves. Until next time,