A Georgia Magazine Primer for DAR Staff
Four times a year, a literary masterpiece lands in your mailbox: Georgia Magazine.
OK, literary masterpiece might be an exaggeration, but there’s no denying that GA Mag is one of the university’s tentpole communication pieces. It’s been around for 100 years and it only gets better with age.
Whereas some universities treat this style of publication as simply an “alumni magazine,” UGA’s publication officially evolved into more of a “university magazine” in 1995 when the Georgia Alumni Record became Georgia Magazine. Today, GA Mag seeks to inform, engage, and steward a wide swath of the UGA community: alumni, parents, faculty, staff, donors, students, elected officials, and more. This university-wide focus also means that the Division of Marketing and Communications (MARCOMM) spearheads its publication. Lucky for DAR, MARCOMM is a fantastic partner that invites us to provide content suggestions for these hallowed pages—an opportunity we don’t take for granted!
Here’s a peek behind the curtain on how we leverage GA Mag to encourage engagement and financial support for UGA. Since I serve as our division’s liaison to the magazine, email me if you ever have questions, ideas or concerns.
While DAR provides feedback on all sections of the magazine, there are several areas that we focus on more heavily.
- DAR has 2-3 ads in each issue, as well as a solicitation envelope in the Spring and Summer issues.
- Here are a few ads we’ve run on behalf of units in the division:
- This section highlights impressive snippets of news from across campus. I keep an eye out for DAR news to suggest for inclusion, such as touting the Mentor Program’s first year, recognizing a major gift from well-known alumni, or announcing a building naming.
Bulldogs Give Back
- This two-page spread began at the outset of the Commit to Georgia Campaign to communicate campaign priorities and encourage donations to UGA. In the wake of the campaign, MARCOMM has agreed to continue providing this space to DAR to promote fundraising needs.
- The Winter 2020 issue focused on student well-being, the Spring 2021 issue will focus on the importance of endowed positions, and the Summer 2022 issue will focus on entrepreneurship.
- What was, years ago, a simple letter from the alumni president alongside an event calendar, has morphed into a visually compelling, two-page spread focused on the goings-on of the Alumni Association.
- This spread usually features the following elements focused on alumni engagement:
- Message from Meredith Gurley Johnson
- Snippets about new/important initiatives and programs
- 2-3 photographs that illustrate recent offerings to the alumni family
- Calendar of events
- Social media posts by alumni and volunteer groups that might help encourage online engagement by fellow alumni
Why I Give
- One donor (an individual, couple, family, or company) is featured in each issue with a 400-word story about their support. We try to diversify the donors we feature as well as the vehicles by which they donated. A few past examples are captured in this PDF.
- MARCOMM writes these short alumni features, but DAR shares recommendations for who to include (as well as any concerns). Each feature focuses on what the alumnus does, not necessarily a gift they made to UGA. And each profile must be compelling enough for a stranger to be eager to read it.
- Here are a few examples of profiles I (personally) found to be both interesting and strategic:
That was a whole lot—to read and to remember. If you still have questions, please email me! Happy to chat about the magazine after working on it for eight years!