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UMFK "cooks up" unique annual giving campaign that's anything but "half-baked"

October 15, 2004



A photo of UMFK's new "Pizza Campaign" brochure that will be mailed in the coming weeks.

It's a new twist to pizza delivery, but within the next couple of weeks, alumni and friends of the University of Maine at Fort Kent can expect to have a slice of Italian pie delivered to their doorstep, and not by a local pizza shop, but rather by their postman.

The special delivery will officially launch what UMFK campus officials are calling "the pizza campaign", the creative and taste tempting theme adopted for this year's annual fundraising drive that will continue through June 2005.

The printed pepperoni pizza slice shaped brochure, which will be mailed by UMFK in the coming days to over 4,500 alumni and over 1,000 friends, appears nearly as authentic as the real thing and even comes complete with a pizza scented tab that holds the "pie" together and when opened emits the pizza scent.

With each unfolding of the pizza slice mailing, recipients of the piece work their way to a full 16 inch pie that features photographs of current UMFK students enjoying, what else, pizza. The photos are accompanied by catch text that captures the theme and brings home the message.

Upon unfolding the original slice to reveal a two-slice spread, the publication features a greeting and introductory letter signed by Ryan Pelletier, UMFK's 2003 Outstanding Young Alumni.

"Pizza has quickly become the fast food icon of the times and a staple in the diet of any college student. But just as the number of students enjoying this delicacy at UMFK has risen, so has the cost of education. More and more students are turning to UMFK each year to pursue their dreams, but are finding it increasingly difficult to fund their education. We are committed to delivering a piping hot education to all those who want to place and order but are prevented from doing so because it is simply too expensive," writes Pelletier in the letter.

The second unfolding reveals half a pizza and features three photos of students digging into the tasty treat with a caption reading: "Take a look inside! If you love pizza topped with golden melted cheese, pepperoni, green peppers, hamburg and onions& we guarantee that you will have a craving for one of our 'specials' today".

The play on words continues with the final unfolding and revealing of the 16 inch round pizza.

Clever pizza terminology is used throughout, from the explanation of how donations benefit the university to the description of the various giving clubs under which donors fall.

Donors are even encouraged to think of their donation in a painless way equating a gift to the equivalent of the cost of a pizza per month or per week.

The concept for the unique campaign was created by Jason Parent, UMFK director of university relations and alumni affairs, after attending a conference on annual giving presented by the Council for the Advancement of Secondary Education (CASE) last winter.

A somewhat similar theme had been used by another college in Ohio to recruit young alumni to become members of the school's alumni association.

"The idea was a great one," said Parent. "We took a whole different twist to the concept and have given it that extra special UMFK touch. The theme, which will have great appeal to our younger alumni, follows last year's campaign that reflected on the 125-year history of UMFK during our year of celebration."

Parent, who had worked closely with UMFK alumni on the previous year's campaign, this year turned to a current student and a recent alumni to help bring his "half-baked" idea to reality.

Megan Foreman, a member of the class of 2005, was briefed by Parent on his concept for a publication that would be shaped like a pizza and carry that theme throughout.

Neal Jandreau, UMFK's assistant web administrator, was brought on board to complete the layout and design of the publication.

"Megan and Neal took this idea and really ran with it. Their creativity and talent came together to create a truly wonderful and whimsical piece," said Parent.

UMFK is planning on submitting the publication for a possible design award.

In the meantime, UMFK is looking to the piece to boost the campus's annual fund and as an unintended result possibly even boost pizza sales for local eateries.