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I love the template builder because I know that my email will always have the same look and feel as other FSU emails. Plus, we can share down our basic templates to certain schools and departments, giving people a starting point, which, oftentimes, can feel like the biggest hurdle.


Located in the heart of Tallahassee, Florida State University (FSU) is known as one of the most respected research and learning institutions in the country. Best recognized by their garnet and gold color scheme and a long list of academic and athletic achievements, FSU is a brand to be reckoned with—and one that’s made possible by departments within the university, like the FSU Foundation.

Amanda Wood, Senior Director of Communications, leans on Emma to help maintain the power and consistency of the institution’s brand. With a full analytics dashboard, tech-savvy integrations, and an easy-to-use template builder, the FSU Foundation can continuously improve their strategy, hitting big annual benchmarks along the way.

Analytics tools help reconfirm—and readjust—strategies.

When we asked Wood about Emma analytics tools, the conversation immediately shifted toward the Emma Clickmap and Mailing Score features. Using the Clickmap feature, the FSU Foundation team can take a closer look at ongoing campaigns, using clicks to determine areas of interest for subscribers.

Wood says, “The Clickmap is important because you can see the amount of clicks, but also where those clicks are taking place within an email. And that’s helpful because what you initially predicted or hoped to happen, might not be the reality.”

While the team knows that videos within email are engaging, Clickmap analytics show that subscribers are primarily focused on the video rather than the “Give now” call-to-action. That data allows Wood and her team to quickly adapt their strategy to draw more attention to the primary ask.

The Mailing Score feature within Emma allows users to view email performance at-a-glance, share those results, and benchmark against past mailings. And for Wood and her team, this means using an easily digestible format to share success with other departments and compare campaigns.

“Using the Mailing Score feature, we can compare campaigns year-over-year, which allows us to reconfirm recommendations and strategies, or make any necessary adjustments,” Wood says.

EverTrue integration encourages intuitive thinking and yields big success.

When it comes to identifying potential donors, the FSU Foundation relies on intuitive thinking. However, this can become a daunting task when on-file subscriber information is limited to basic facts, like a subscriber’s degree or when they attended the university.

Recognizing that intuitive thinking would require much more than the basics, the FSU Foundation turned to Emma’s EverTrue integration to better understand subscriber interests and passions, and the causes subscribers would be willing to donate money towards.

In a recent Veteran’s Day social campaign, the team used EverTrue to create a list of email subscribers who engaged with their Veteran’s Day social post. From there, they took their new segmented list and sent a donation request email that would specifically benefit student veterans.

The result? 41% of gifts received were from new academic donors, conforming that finding where subscriber passion lies is crucial in making the ask and securing the gift.

Brand consistency helps to amplify nostalgic appeal.

Universities—big and small—know the importance of maintaining consistent branding across the board, especially when it comes to communicating with alumni and potential donors. After all, many aspects of a university’s branding—like colors, a mascot, or a fight song—are ways alumni and potential donors connect with their nostalgia. And it’s that nostalgia that plays a huge role in helping the FSU Foundation reach big annual goals.

Wood and her team rely on Emma’s easy-to-use template builder to ensure brand consistency with every send.

“I love the template builder because I know that my email will always have the same look and feel as other FSU emails. Plus, we can share down our basic templates to certain schools and departments, giving people a starting point, which, oftentimes, can feel like the biggest hurdle,” Wood says.

Two campaigns, $1.6 million in donations

When it comes to successful email marketing, Wood recalls on two recent campaigns that stand out from all the others.

Last summer, the FSU Foundation ran a campaign titled “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” The purpose of the campaign was to detail out the experiences FSU students had while working with special needs children in Peru, serving physicians in underserved areas, and completing summer internships. Using quotes from the students and pictures of their experiences, the FSU Foundation put together a two-email campaign, with a separate direct mail piece to follow. The ask resulted in a total of 1,730 gifts, summing up to $1,075,085 in donations.

More recently, during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team ran several last-minute campaigns to raise money for their Student Emergency Fund. Although these campaigns, much like the pandemic they followed, were not necessarily planned, the team was still able to raise $560,824 in donations, proving that developing a lasting relationship with donors truly pays on in times of emergent need.

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