Sara Stern
EVP, Philanthropic Marketing

Aspirations Unchanged

A Community-Wide Approach

Like many of our clients, the Lipman Hearne team is responding to the COVID-19 outbreak by working remotely, trying not to speak over each other on conference calls, and hoping our barking dog won’t distract the team’s flow. It’s a destabilizing time, to be sure. With the cascading impacts of campus closures, performance cancellations, and new modes of teaching and learning, it’s hard to know which changes will be temporary and which will last.

But I’ve been thinking as I video-call clients and coworkers from my kitchen table, and it occurs to me that while a lot has changed, plenty more remains the same.

The aspirations of our clients and the people they serve haven’t changed in the slightest. And there’s a profound reason to take hope in that.

As hundreds of thousands of students are clearing out their rooms to leave campus, colleges have said in nearly every case that classes will continue online. And those students want and need to learn, and to develop the skills to stay nimble in an unknowable future.

Another reminder, then, of the power of human ingenuity. No matter what challenges we face, we share a drive to keep going, to make connections, to strive for what matters to us. And we can see that drive at play right now.

As marketers and communication experts, we know the ways colleges and universities engage with students, parents, and alumni now will have lifelong impacts on their brand—and on affinity, engagement, and giving. Times like these emphasize the importance of belonging, and I take heart in seeing organizations go above and beyond to foster connection.

It’s been inspiring to see the generosity of so many cultural organizations who are live-streaming concerts and offering virtual experiences for free. Audiences everywhere will appreciate the gifts of art and of distraction, and these interactions may help cement current relationships and build new ones.

In the same way, the sensitive communications and engagement tactics we’re seeing in the higher ed space convey the same message: this is a time to pull together and support one another.

It’s impossible to predict what the results of this moment in history will be. But at Lipman Hearne, we’re known for taking the wide view, and I believe that good can come from this, despite the fear of the present moment.

We’re here to help our clients navigate this challenge—and chart a course through to the other side of it.

Who knows how many students will dedicate their future careers to preventing future outbreaks like this one?

Who knows what renewed commitment to building a better world will emerge?

Lipman Hearne is immensely proud to work in a sector that strives every day to find—and to be—the answers to these questions.