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by Elizabeth Elmore

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 MagazineToday, GA Mag seeks to inform, engage, and steward a wide swath of the UGA community: alumni, parents, facultystaff, 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. 

Ads 

UGAtoZ 

  • 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. 

Bulldog Bulletin 

  • 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 donatedA few past examples are captured in this PDF. 

Alumni Profiles 

  • 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:

 

MARCOMM plans content one year out from when it lands in your mailbox. This chart might help you understand why it’s difficult to insert an idea at the last minute—no matter how timely it is. 

 

  Spring 2021 Issue  Summer 2021 Issue  Fall 2021  Winter 2021 
Hits Mailboxes  Early March 2021  Early June 2021  Early Sept. 2021  Early Dec. 2021 
To Printer  February 1  May 1  August 1  November 1 
Final Review  Last week of Jan.  Last week of April  Last week of July  Last week of Oct. 
Copy Due to MARCOMM  Mid-December  Mid-March  Mid-June  Mid-September 
Editorial is Finalized  Mid-November  Early February  Early May  Early August 
First Ideas Presented to JWM  February 2020  May 2020  August 2020  November 2020 

 

Besides special issues (like the Commit to Georgia Campaign launch and wrap-up issues), we mail 148,000 copies of each magazine to primary addresses (according to GAIL) around the world. Here’s a simplified rundown of who receives the magazine: 

  • UGA vice presidents, deans, directors, department heads, administration, faculty, Staff Council 
  • UGAF trustees, emeritus trustees 
  • All cumulative giving society members 
  • Donors within the past three fiscal years 
  • Heritage Society members 
  • UGA Board of Visitors 
  • Alumni Association Life Members 
  • Board members from across campus 
  • Anyone who specifically contacts UGA to request the magazine 
  • 40 Under 40 honorees 
  • UGA Alumni Chapter leaders 
  • All prospects with active plans 
  • Lapsed leadership-level donors from the last decade 
  • Principal gift prospects 
  • Some elected officials
  • Parents
  • Alumni event registrants 
  • Donors to funds associated with stories within each issue 

Once we mail to the individuals identified, we’ve usually surpassed our 148,000 capacity. If not, we’d fill out the rest of the mailing list with other alumni.

DAR receives 250 issues. These are disseminated as follows: 

  • Atlanta Alumni Office – 50 copies (mailed directly by MARCOMM) 
  • Wray-Nicholson House – 50 copies (mailed directly by MARCOMM) 
  • One Press Place – disseminated by yours truly 
    • 50 – Engagement Center 
    • 50 – In DARCOMM suite for general use 
    • 50 – In the upstairs breakroom at One Press Place for general use 

 

Have you come across an issue with a recipient’s issue of Georgia Magazine? Let me know and I’ll help remedy the situation. 

While there is enough going on across campus to fill a magazine 6-inches thick, there are fewer than 60 pages in each issue. Subtract from that the sections that aren’t under DAR’s purview and you begin to understand why we can’t fit every story idea into the magazine—we wish we could! But if you have a really great idea or request, please don’t hesitate to email me.

Share Magazine Content – Once mailed, all content in the magazine can be repurposed by others. Leverage this content in your social channels, emails, websites and/or use the stories in fundraising collateral. Most of the magazine is recreated as digital stories on UGA Today within a month of its mail date. 

Send or Take the Magazine to Alumni and Prospects – Please don’t let our division’s copies go to waste if they would be helpful for an in-person visit or to mail to someone. We’ve seen readers be moved to create scholarships directly based on content they discovered in the magazine. 

Share Story Ideas – There is a “Georgia Magazine Nominations Form” on the Frontline Fundraisers Teams page. At the top of the page, click “more” and it will appear. We can’t make promises that submissions can be used, but we invite your input! If you aren’t in that Teams channel, you can email me your ideas. 

Leverage Class Notes – Since space prevents us from running every story idea in the magazine, I encourage you to submit alumni news for the Class Notes section. 

Recycle Them – If you find yourself with extra copies and don’t plan to use them, please be sure to recycle them. Thank you! 

 

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! 

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! 

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