Students on the front steps of the Alumni House

Office of Advancement

Making valuable connections that move the university forward

The mission of University Advancement is to communicate the University of South Carolina Aiken’s value, connect the university with its constituencies, and secure the resources and funding necessary to advance the institution among the institution’s internal and external constituencies through strategic communications and marketing, university events, alumni relations, fundraising and stewardship, and relationship building.

USC Aiken:  One University Ask

The Advancement Office is the centralized office for all annual, capital, and planned giving solicitations. One University Ask is an effort that coordinates all philanthropic activities and solicitations from the university. These include annual, capital, or major giving, planned giving, and sponsorships. All asks need to align with the university’s mission.  

All departments must work through the Office of Advancement to plan, coordinate, solicit, and steward their prospects and donors. Please contact Mary Driscoll, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement, at 803-641-3448 for questions and applications.

Annual Solicitations

As part of annual solicitations, USC Aiken organizations, programs, and schools may work with the Advancement Office to create a Direct Marketing Effort (DME) to raise funds in support of a cause. These efforts use segmentation to create fundraising appeals that target specific groups of donors through email. It also can include the use of a customized giving page with its own web address to promote and collect donations in support of a cause. Although space is limited, giving pages can incorporate text, photos, video, and graphics.

To request a Direct Marketing Effort to support an annual solicitation, please review the Guidelines below and complete the Fundraising Activity Request Form. Questions concerning annual solicitations should be directed to Gift Officer Wesley Brown at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 803-641-3417.


Fundraising Activity Request Form


Annual Fundraising Initiative - Direct Marketing Effort (DME)


USC Aiken encourages excellence in research and creative pursuits and prepares students for success by challenging them to think critically and creatively, to communicate effectively, to learn independently, and to acquire breadth and depth of interdisciplinary knowledge.

As a partner, the university’s Office of Advancement is eager to collaborate with faculty, staff and alumni groups to enhance the student experience. The goal is to provide expertise in development research, cultivation, and strategic vision to enhance annual revenue streams for funding priorities that support our students, faculty, and staff, and align with USC Aiken’s mission.


Direct Marketing Efforts (DME): The University of South Carolina System’s Development Office, in collaboration with Aiken advancement staff, can create DME appeals through its donor database — Blackbaud CRM. The efforts use segmentation to create fundraising appeals that target specific groups of donors through email to raise funds in support of a cause.

The system’s Development Office may also create a Single Fund Page (SFP) as part of a DME. The SFP is a giving page with its own web address that promotes and collects donations in support of a cause. Although space is limited, the SFP can use text, photos, video, and graphics to promote a cause.

A DME is the best way for USC Aiken to raise funds in support of its mission because it allows the university to seamlessly track donor data and engagement through one database, Blackbaud CRM.


The primary purpose for these annual DME guidelines is to support a coordinated, campus-wide fundraising plan to advance the mission of USC Aiken.

The intent is to:

1. Assure that all fundraising projects or events conform to the defined fundraising objectives, practices and programs of USC Aiken and meet current needs.

2. Strengthen communication, coordination, and fundraising results for all groups associated with USC Aiken.

3. Coordinate efforts to engage alumni, donors, businesses, and community members to invest financially in the university and be properly acknowledged for their investment.

4. Avoid inundating the USC Aiken community with too many requests and eliminate potential negative impact on other initiatives or creating competition among university groups for funding.

5. Build new and strengthen existing relationships at the university.

6. Assure that all fundraising events and materials meet IRS guidelines and present a quality image of the university.

All Direct Marketing Efforts are limited to university organizations or university-sponsored events only and will be coordinated with the USC Aiken Office of Advancement prior to initiating solicitation to individuals or businesses.

These guidelines apply to all university organizations, including alumni groups, areas of research and study, and programs that enhance the student experience, including arts and athletics.


  1. A representative from the group, areas of research and study, or program will first submit a Fundraising Activity Request Form (see attached) and then meet with the USC Aiken Office of Advancement to discuss the request and timeline for implementation at least a month before the desired launch date of the Direct Marketing Effort.
  2. Please expect two to four weeks to receive and create DME requests. The form and initial meeting is required to fully understand the segmentation effort of this specialized DME design. The Advancement Office will expedite each request as soon as possible.
  3. The main items the representative is responsible for providing in the Fundraising Activity Request Form include:
    a.  A simple statement of purpose for the fundraising initiatives(s).
    b.  A financial and/or participation goal (if one has been established).
    c.  A proposed timeline when the DME will be conducted.
    d.  Target audience(s) to be solicited.
    e.  Collateral materials needed (photos, video, graphics, etc.)
    f.   Package specifics.
         i.  Are multiple emails proposed?
         ii. Will a data merge be needed?
        iii. What is the email subject, and from and reply email?
        iv. Who will provide copy (text) for the effort?
        v. Is a Single Fund Page needed? Should the page include a progress bar?
  4. The USC Aiken Office of Advancement may request that certain names be removed from the solicitation list if there are reasons they should not be contacted.
  5. The group representative will work with the USC Aiken Office of Advancement to ensure appropriate donor acknowledgement and recognition.
  6. The group representative may request proofs be provided before emails are sent.
  7. The USC Aiken Office of Advancement will stay in contact with system development staff working on this project to ensure delivery.The USC Aiken Office of Advancement will stay in contact with system development staff working on this project to ensure delivery.
  8. All gifts made by check should be payable to: The Aiken Partnership, and mailed to USC Aiken, 471 University Parkway, Attention: Alumni House, 471 University Parkway, Aiken, SC 29801.

Fundraising Activity Request Form