The ambition

Kings College London (KCL) is one of the world’s leading research universities. In 2010, it launched its World Questions/King’s Answers campaign. The campaign raised over £600m to address many of the world’s most challenging problems in areas such as neuroscience, mental health, global security and cancer. 

Following this success, KCL commissioned Firetail to help understand which of their new potential campaign ideas would be most attractive to possible donors. The university wanted to know why donors are attached to particular causes, what they expect from a KCL campaign, and how campaign asks could be improved. We also reviewed the markets and competitors for each proposition area.

Firetail has a long-standing relationship with King’s College London, and is one of its preferred partners for strategic and organisational insight. We have supported the university on fundraising strategy, proposition development, governance and organisational design.

Our approach

For this project, we helped KCL to understand the strengths and weaknesses of its campaign ideas in order to sequence their launch through the lifetime of the campaign. Our approach involved  a mix of in-depth interviews and focus groups with high net worth individuals, alumni, foundations, members of the public and hospital patients. 

From this work, we recommended how to select, refine and launch propositions from their long list.

The impact

King’s College London have a clearer picture of what their next campaign will look like, and how to strengthen the initiatives that will make the campaign a success. 

“Firetail bring a deep strategic understanding of what it takes to build a world-class institution. Their work on proposition development, fundraising strategy and audience insight helped us to sharpen our focus in areas where King’s seeks to lead the world. They grasped the fundamentals of our issues and their insights made our choices much clearer.”

Professor Sir Robert Lechler FKC, Senior Vice President / Provost (Health)