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Case study: Towards sustainable justice at UCT

Endowment fund campaign, Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town

Audio artwork

Towards Sustainable Justice campaign

Pauline Alexander, UCT

The former Marketing and Development manager at the Faculty of Law talks about organising a campaign. Download audio file.


UCT Upper Campus Adrian Frith, UCT Upper Campus landscape view, CC BY-SA 3.0

A small targeted campaign, in and of Africa

  • We had: 1 x 40% position 1 x 10% Dean (alumnus and much loved and respected Prof)
  • Database support Minimal hours from two champions
  • A good product (UCT degree) and professors who engender great loyalty Cohesion of small classes studying a core course (LLB)
  • A vision people identified with (although Endowment most difficult to fundraise)


March: Faculty use prior reserves to appoint a Development and Marketing Manager

June: Alumni dinner in London and visits to four law firms to assess feasibility: Dean and fellow campaign champion, alumnus and professor, Judge Davis

April & Aug: Dip stick survey → Dean (Prof Corder) unknown, minimal contact with alma mater, preference for ‘meaty’ content newsletters

Oct: First Reunion (Prof Corder’s Class of 1977) 25th anniversary

A History finalised: including Roll of graduates from 1919.


  • Re-establish relationships and build awareness of the current faculty through alumni newsletter + quarterly updates
  • Annual Reunion weekend (25th, 50th focus) + ad hoc public lectures
  • Development Committee and Advisory Board formed
  • Development of campaign materials - Towards Sustainable Justice

Campaign materials

UCT celebrates 175 years with a Chancellor’s Challenge → Law campaign on hold


Email updates continue, planning for gala reunion weekend too. Survey rates Faculty communications as very good to excellent.

September: Law Review mailed, to reach mail boxes by November – in time for alumni’s financial planning for following year

October: Law 150 Reunion and gala dinner with GOH alumnus Lewis Pugh

Law review


November: Handwritten names and signatures on 3600 letters with pledge forms

Best of times? Rule of law concerns, Con Ct judgments gain global recognition

Worst of times? Global financial wobble becoming a longer term reality; so stress five year campaign i.e. pledges vs lump sums

December: Some success but not even a 1% response rate

Strive for admin efficiency, written notes of thanks, feedback, invitations to events We know donors’ first names, who and where they are



Six-month programme continues, and includes events in Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth + new dean + road shows for Law 150 scholarships to attract top black learners to UCT, and to a career in Law

Thank you note

Four pillars of campaign


Concentrate on those alumni for whom we have current email contacts

(Correlation between donors and attendance at reunion/events)

Champions visit identified prospects (friends) – 6 out of 8 ‘Yes’ 1 law firm: 3 family trusts: 1 Corporate trust: 1 businessman

→25.1% Endowment ‘ring-fenced’

Biggest contributor Faculty itself: Professional short courses   NB Marketing costs = 3.6% of monies raised in first 18 months

2013 and Beyond

2009: R9m in the bank

2013: R38.6m

2015: R41m

Celebratory December luncheon to unveil Honour Roll of donors


Beyond 2013

On CASE Africa Webinar advice, end campaign as scheduled

Law 150 remains open as the Vision remains relevant, and some pledges are in perpetuity.

Reunions bring a 25% growth in new and current data

Campaign material

The Impact

  • Postgraduate Research Commons in the Library
  • Six staff funded – 5 for Masters overseas and 1PhD

Newspaper report

It was not about the R25m

It was about the hundreds of students we have supported and the impact they will have on Access to Justice

Newspaper report