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Development Guide:
Development Communications

Giving News


The Development Communications team is responsible for creating strategic and compelling communications that support The University of Texas at Austin’s overall fundraising efforts. These goals include building a culture of philanthropy, promoting fundraising and campaign initiatives, stewarding donors, and engaging alumni through a range of media:

  • Print ads
  • Newsletters
  • Magazine articles
  • Stand-alone publications
  • Brochures
  • Proposals
  • CSU toolkits
  • Video
  • Social media
  • Web content
  • Correspondence
  • Email
  • Presentations
  • Scripts
  • Press releases
  • Talking Points

The team partners closely with University Communications, working collaboratively with its Creative Services office to design and produce collateral, with its Media Relations office on announcements and key media activity, and with its Integrated Marketing and Communications team to publish content on UT’s social media handles.


The team strives to create materials and provide resources that can benefit the entire university development community and is available to consult with colleges, schools, or units (CSUs) on their own strategies. Additionally, Development Communications serves to help CSUs amplify their powerful philanthropy stories when possible and welcomes ideas for fitting articles and announcements.

When pitching articles or announcements for consideration, please keep in mind some of the following criteria:


  • How does the story show novel ways that UT is improving the student experience, benefiting society, or impacting the Texas economy?
  • Is it a unique gift? A significant collection, equipment, or other non-monetary contribution?
  • Does the donor have an interesting background or reason for making their gift?
  • Do you have an alumnus who is doing extraordinary things?

Press Releases

  • Is the gift at least $1 million or is it a particularly compelling gift?
  • Has the donor given their permission? It is UT policy that press releases will not be issued without prior approval for both the release of the donor’s name(s) and the actual text of the press release itself.
  • If this regards a new endowment, has it been officially established?

Development Communications may assist CSUs with preparing press releases and publicizing gifts when one of the following criteria is met:

  • The gift is at a significant level, typically $5 million or more
  • The donor requires special attention
  • Recipients of the gift involve more than one CSU
  • A special request for assistance is made by university leadership

Proposal Writing and Editing Services

In addition to the extensive proposal services provided by Corporate and Foundation Relations, Development Communications offers limited proposal writing and editing services. These proposals typically involve projects that have been identified as presidential priorities and are customized for individual prospective donors, foundations, and corporations.

In cases where a presidential cover letter is required by an individual, corporation, or foundation as part of the proposal submission process, Development Communications is responsible for drafting or editing the letter and sending it to the president for signature.

Requests for proposal assistance should typically meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • The proposal requests a grant of $5 million or more
  • The proposal involves more than one CSU
  • The focus of the proposal has university-wide impact

Legacy Project

The Legacy Project collects and shares donor and endowment stories, providing a historical record of philanthropy at the university. These stories link donors to the students and the faculty who benefit from their gifts. Illuminating this shared heritage of giving, the Legacy Project describes the many ways endowments improve the lives of others and fund the university’s pursuit of excellence.

This is an opportunity to highlight and steward donors, and CSUs are encouraged to participate and submit stories. Click here for detailed instructions and FAQs.

Communication Outlets

The following are the University Development Office’s primary vehicles of communication:

  • Changing the World highlights the impact of philanthropy at UT through articles on gifts, donors, and programs. Published six times a year — in January, March, May, July, September, and November — Changing the World appears within The Alcalde alumni magazine. An email version is also published six times a year.
  • Texas Leader is a twice-yearly print and email publication targeted to members of the UT community who may be considering ways to support UT that fit in with their tax, retirement, and estate planning. This is an opportunity to showcase and promote the impact of donors who have made planned gifts as well as to describe the different types of giving vehicles available to them. The magazine typically ranges between eight and 12 pages.
  • HornShare is the university’s social media ambassador program and is a collaboration between Annual Giving, Development Communications, and University Communications. Students, alumni, and friends are invited to share UT social media content by logging in and connecting their Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn profiles. They will receive an email when there are new posts, and by sharing with just one click, participants can earn points toward winning a special monthly prize.
  • is the university’s central giving website geared toward educating visitors about the importance of philanthropy and inspiring them to give. It also provides navigation to the central departments and to the online giving page.


Additional resources may be found here. This includes links to:

  • Brand Guidelines
  • Events Calendar
  • Filming Guidelines
  • Photography
  • Trademarks
  • Video

Information on visual elements and downloadable university logos and templates, may be found here.

Many toolkits, advertisements, and flyers produced by Development Communications are available for CSU use on DevDirect under Marketing Materials.


Alisa Cohen Victoria
Associate Director for Development Communications

Avrel Seale
Writer and Editor


Updated Aug 5 2016


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