psLondon & Imperial College London Win HEIST Award 2023

psLondon & Imperial College London Win HEIST Award: Celebrating HE Excellence

On Thursday 13th July, the team at psLondon was thrilled to celebrate our award-winning and shortlisted clients of the 2023 HEIST awards – known as the ‘Oscars of higher education’.

After weeks of great anticipation with our client projects shortlisted, we are delighted to announce that Imperial College London won. Gold for the Best Student or Alumni Engagement Initiative award.

Giving you the inside scoop on the gala awards night, here’s an overview of our award-winning project with Imperial College London.

Imperial College London – StudentHardship Fundraising


Living through the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis had been challenging for Imperial students – a fundraising campaign for student assistance was timely.

In the spirit of giving and support for students, psLondon worked with Imperial to develop an appeal reaching 50,000 alumni. The campaign was created to help rejuvenate new cash donor numbers and increase the regular giving donor pool. Our ambition was also to lower the average age of donors to build retention numbers and secure longer-running gifting.

Our research and insight learnings led us to a single-minded proposition which empowered generosity, ignited a sense of pride and induced nostalgia: ‘Give Imperial’s future pioneers the same chance you had.’

The creative concept was built on the idea of asking alumni to reflect on their own lives and what studying at Imperial had allowed them to go on and achieve – asking them to consider ‘What if’ they hadn’t been able to finish their time at Imperial?

The campaign was a success, engaging alumni and non-alumni, and exceeding the donation target, further supporting the next generation of pioneers at Imperial College London. Additional wins included achieving a 75% full email consent opt-in rate and lowering the average donor age to 32 (telethon) and 44 (DM), against a previous average donor age of 71.

Delighted about the win (just before we danced the night away), we caught up with Imperial College London’s Regular Giving Officer, Aimee Walton, who said:

“We’re so proud to be recognised for our successful ‘What If’ appeal – we knew early on that the concept had huge potential and we see this as the beginning of a new and exciting Regular Giving journey. Thank you to psLondon for taking us into a new space.”

Head of Client Partnerships, Nicola Cast, and Design Director, Scott McNamee, from psLondon joined our clients at HEIST 2023 to celebrate our shortlisted projects. Having led the Creative Team on the ‘What If...’ campaign idea, Scott said:

“When the team at ps hit upon this idea of imagining what our world would be like without the groundbreaking work of previous Imperial pioneers, we knew it was a powerful thought that had legs and which could be used to frame engaging content for Imperial’s alumni. Working closely with the team at Imperial enabled us to make the campaign even more impactful, and really bring to light the amazing work that they do, and then the emotional resonance brought the fundraising campaign some fantastic results. Gaining the recognition of a Gold Award at HEIST 2023 is an amazing validation for everyone that worked on the project.”

Leading on the project direction and management, Nicola said:

“Our positive and inspiring relationship with the Imperial team provided the right environment to explore a new and successful approach to their Regular Giving acquisition appeal. We’re so proud of our combined achievements, and excited to see how the ‘What If’ framework evolves from here.”

We would like to congratulate all nominees and winners from the night, celebrating their fantastic contribution, excellence and innovation within the higher education sector.

Want to develop award-winning strategies and creative for your brand and campaigns? We’re happy to help. Email us: nicola.cast@pslondon.co.uk

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