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28 Sep, 2023

For marketers in higher education, LinkedIn has evolved into more than a professional networking site; it’s a goldmine for student recruitment and brand enhancement. Here’s how you can use the power of LinkedIn’s networking tools to harness its full potential.

Leverage audience insights for targeted campaigns
LinkedIn’s rich data can help you understand your target audience better than ever. The platform has seen an 87% increase in engagement with educational content across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa since January 2020. Use this data to create targeted ad campaigns that resonate with prospective students. Segment your audience based on their interests, educational background, and career aspirations for more effective outreach.

Localisation and global outreach
UK educational providers have increased their local market focus by 47%. While global outreach is essential, don’t underestimate the power of localisation. Tailor your content to address your local audience’s specific needs and aspirations. This dual approach ensures you’re not missing out on potential students, whether they’re next door or across the ocean.

Content strategy: Educate, Engage, Convert
LinkedIn influenced 457,000 undergraduate and postgraduate enrolments in the UK in 2021. To replicate this success, your content strategy should focus on three key areas: educate, engage, and convert. Share insightful articles, industry trends, and success stories to educate your audience. Use interactive posts and quick polls to keep them engaged. Finally, solid calls-to-action and lead-generation forms can help convert this engagement into enrolments.

LinkedIn is a treasure trove for marketers in higher education, offering unparalleled audience insights, local and global outreach capabilities, and compelling content strategies. By leveraging these features, you can boost enrolments and build a robust brand presence in the educational sector.


28 Sep, 2023

As fundraising and advancement continue to evolve, staying ahead of the curve is essential for institutions aiming to make a meaningful impact.

In this article, we delve into the latest fundraising trends that are proving effective in today’s rapidly changing environment, and offer tips on finding and retaining new donors.

  • Say thank you: This research paper published in the journal Sustainability advises that disgruntled donors’ number one complaint was not receiving feedback – and a simple thank you. “The received answers indicate that it is important not only to say thank you, but to do it in such a way that the patron has the feeling of satisfaction and joy when donating,” the paper said.


  • Avoid controversial issues as far as possible: In an increasingly polarised world, it’s becoming more important than ever to focus on the mission at hand and not become involved in “culture wars”. “We should focus on donors’ philanthropic priorities, not their cultural views, and keep our personal agendas to ourselves,” says this report from the Winkler Group.


  • Take a closer look at success stories: Donations to UK universities doubled from 2012 to 2012, according to this article. Some of the success factors the report lists include “the importance of creating cultures for successful philanthropy across institutional leadership, including among academic leaders; and creating fundraising propositions that both capture the ambitions of the institution and are expressed as compelling invitations for investment in institutional success”. Among the recommendations contained in the report are to provide more structured training for people working in advancement.


  • Keep things personal: In a world increasingly defined by personalisation of products and services, fundraising also needs to shift to personalised outreach. “Fundraisers have increasingly understood this and have taken great strides to make sure that their teams are equipped with the right information needed to make all their donor communications personal and meaningful,” says this Gravyty article. This requires a greater focus on high-quality and up-to-date data on donors, and staff who are able to extract, analyse, and implement what can be learned from the data.


  • Keep them coming back: Donor retention strategies are a must-have, especially when research shows that just 20% of first-time US donors are likely to become repeat donors, while those who have donated more than once are 60% more likely to become consistent long-term donors. “Existing donors are already familiar with your organisation and have been attracted to your message in the past,” Gravyty writes. A trend to watch out for is AI software that is increasingly helping advancement teams monitor donor behaviours and patterns, and adjust and react quickly.


  • Cash is no longer king: Smart payment solutions have been a buzzword for years. This DonorBox article says that, by 2026, 60% of the world’s population will use digital wallets. If you’re not already accepting Yoco, Snapscan, Zapper and similar payment methods at your events, it’s beyond time to plan for it.


  • Explain your spend: Donor feedback in overseas studies show that one of the biggest frustrations experienced by donors is lack of feedback. “When donors give to your higher education institution, they want to know who or what they’re supporting. By showing donors the real impact of their gifts, you emphasise the fact that their donations make a tangible difference,” says this RedPath article.

28 Sep, 2023

“We are getting to the point where if a machine doesn’t understand your language, it will be like it never existed,” Prof Vukosi Marivate, Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Pretoria and a panellist at the MACE 2023 Directors’ Symposium, said in an earlier call to action.

Topics related to artificial intelligence (AI) and its effects on everyday lives – including how we communicate, especially in the wake of the explosive popularisation of ChatGPT less than a year ago – have been the most buzzed-about debates of this year, even more so among those of us for whom communication is a large part of our daily work.

In an era marked by the rapid advancement of technology, AI chatbots have emerged as a transformative force, poised to reshape the landscape of communication. As AI chatbots continue to evolve, their impact on communication is becoming increasingly profound.

Some of the key changes taking place that could impact communications and marketing include:

  • Customer service/ support: US research firm Gartner’s annual report on trends related to artificial intelligence indicates that, by 2025, 80% of customer service interactions will be handled by AI chatbots. In the higher education context, many institutions are already making use of scripts and bots to respond to the most common enquiries from students and parents – but we can expect the AI’s capabilities to improve rapidly, enabling a wider scope of what AI can be trusted to respond to.


  • Facilitating easier multilingualism: AI chatbots are democratising communication by breaking down language barriers. These bots can translate and transcribe conversations in real-time, making it easier for people from diverse linguistic backgrounds to interact. Rapid expansion in this capability could have significant implications in a highly diverse country such as South Africa, with 12 official languages used in our classrooms. This could also make translating and re-publishing material in various SA languages much more cost-effective.


  • Personalised marketing: One of the most significant advantages of AI chatbots is their ability to collect and analyse user data. By monitoring user behaviour, preferences, and past interactions, chatbots can offer highly targeted and personalised marketing content. They can recommend products, tailor promotions, and deliver content that resonates with individual customers. This level of personalisation has proven to be a game-changer in boosting marketing ROI.


  • Data-driven insights: AI chatbots generate valuable data and insights about customer behaviour and preferences. These insights enable companies to refine their marketing campaigns, identify trends, and adapt to changing consumer demands quickly.


  • Multi-channel marketing: AI chatbots seamlessly integrate with various communication channels, such as social media, email, and websites. This multi-channel capability allows businesses to maintain consistent messaging and branding across platforms, ensuring a cohesive and effective marketing strategy.

28 Sep, 2023

“How do you make fundraising a pleasant activity?… Turning advancement on its head was really about: how do you attract money to an institution rather than chase money?”

This was just one of the topics addressed during the 2023 Directors’ Symposium, hosted by MACE in conjunction with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) at its Granger Bay Campus on 23 and 24 August 2023.

In the opening session, “Key pillars for Advancement: Marketing, Communication and Fundraising”, Ms Shelagh Gastrow, a consultant to the higher education, non-profit and philanthropy sectors, examined the current thinking and trends related to fundraising and advancement, and how they relate to the other MACE focus areas. “It’s about building a massive external safety net that supports the institution not only with regular money, but [also] enables the institution to become resilient.”

The symposium featured a host of expert speakers, including keynote speeches, panel discussions, and interactive workshops covering a range of topics relevant to marketing and communication, branding, alumni, and fundraising.

Some of the other topics discussed included “Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Alumni Relations: How AI has and will contribute to Alumni Relations”, with Mr Nell Ledwaba and Mr Victor Khangale of the University of Johannesburg, and “The future of communication and marketing in the digital age”, with Ms Chantal Janneker, Senior Director: Communication and Marketing at Nelson Mandela University.

The symposium also welcomed contributions from Programme Facilitator Prof Anesh Singh, Director: Institutional Advancement at the University of the Western Cape; Ms Nonku Pitje, Chief Growth Officer: Discovery Health & Head of Group Strategic Client Solutions Hub; Prof Vukosi Marivate, Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Pretoria; and Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, NWU Executive Director: Student Life and Transformation and President: South African Association of Senior Student Affairs Professionals (SAASSAP).

“The future is digital. Embrace the digital revolution in higher education. Harness its power to reach, engage, and inspire the next generation of graduates,” Ms Janneker said in her closing session.

“Adaption is key. Higher education institutions must evolve to stay competitive and relevant,” she said, adding that communicators can use tools including enhanced data analytics, engaging through social media, exploring emerging technologies, and unlocking potential by seizing opportunities offered by artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, and social media.

You can watch the full coverage of both days’ discussions by clicking here.


28 Sep, 2023

Don’t forget to submit your entry for the 2023 MACE Excellence Awards!

MACE members, thank you to those who attended the 2023 MACE Excellence Awards Masterclass in September – it was good to see you on the platform!

It’s evident from the number of attendees that there is great interest in participating in this year’s awards programme, so we want to give you as much information as possible to help you prepare excellent entries.

Click here for a PowerPoint presentation on how to best prepare your entries, by Dr Amanda Hamilton-Attwell, moderator of the awards programme.

Remember: Entering the MACE Excellence Awards gives you the opportunity to showcase the extraordinary work done by you and your team!


Entry time frame:

  • To qualify for submission, the project must be implemented, published, or broadcast between March 2022 and 30 September 2023.
  • Long-term campaigns may be entered, but the focus must be on the elements rolled out from March 2022 until the day the entry is submitted in 2023.
  • Entries that have won in previous years may not be resubmitted, except if they were part of a multi-year campaign and new elements were added within the time frame.

Entry fees and deadlines:

  • FINAL DEADLINE: 6 October 2023. R980 per entry.

2023 MACE Excellence Awards: Call for Entries

2023 MACE Excellence Awards: Preparing for Excellence

2023 MACE Excellence Awards: MACE Campaigns entry form

2023 MACE Excellence Awards: MACE Media entry form

2023 MACE Excellence Awards: MACE Skills entry form

If you have any questions about the divisions, categories, or preparing your entry, please feel free to contact Dr Amanda Hamilton-Attwell at

If you have any questions about administrative issues regarding the entry process or submitting your entry, please contact Mari Steenkamp at

We look forward to receiving your entries!


28 Sep, 2023

Mark your calendars for 15 and 16 November 2023 – it’s the MACE Annual National Conference!

We’re especially excited to announce that the 2023 conference will be hosted by the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in Cape Town over those two exciting days. Join us as we bring together the brightest minds in education, innovation, and leadership for an unforgettable conference that promises to inspire, engage, and elevate your perspective.

Highlights to look forward to:
• Keynote speakers who are pioneers in education and industry;
• Interactive workshops for hands-on learning experiences; and
• Networking sessions that open doors to exciting collaborations.

Keep an eye on your inbox for more details and be prepared to secure your spot and learn more about the Excellence Awards ceremony.

Let’s make 2023 a year of inspiration and growth together!


28 Sep, 2023

Dear MACE member
We can’t believe we’re already in October, with our 2023 MACE Annual National Conference on the horizon (and Christmas break peering over its shoulder)! As we look forward to the conference and the MACE Excellence Awards, we’re excited to share this latest MACEzine with you.

In this issue you’ll find details about the Annual National Conference, taking place at the University of the Western Cape in November; detailed tips on boosting your MACE Excellence Awards entries; highlights from the MACE Directors’ Symposium in August; an article on how artificial intelligence is impacting communication at higher education institutions; and a closer look at trends in fundraising.

Thank you for reading, and please do share your ideas for building an even stronger MACE by contacting us at

See you at the next MACE event!
The MACE National Board of Directors