Ivy Tech Foundation: The Boxes Behind a Good Cause

by | Mar 14, 2024 | Customer Stories

In higher education, fundraising is often crucial to help an institution keep moving forward and students from avoiding barriers to their success. It’s a lot of work.

Ashley Spurgeon, executive assistant to the president of the Ivy Tech Foundation, knows this well. Ivy Tech Community College is actually Indiana’s only community college – with more than 40 locations – meaning many people and organizations rely on it to fuel the workforce.

“We work directly with a board of directors, and we are privately funded, versus the college, which is publicly funded,” Spurgeon said. “So we have to find all of our money to help the college via grants or personal donors. And then we, in turn, transfer that money over to the college and produce scholarships and help with books.”

To say the least, the foundation is busy. One aspect of Spurgeon’s job that keeps her engaged at work is mailing out packages. It’s how she came to work with BoxUp.

The Relationship with Boxup

“My predecessor worked with BoxUp for years,” she said. “When they left, it was up to me to find new boxes and make new designs. I didn’t know anything about BoxUp at the time, but one of my superiors said, ‘We’ve always used BoxUp. We have a pretty close connection with them – and they’re right in Indiana.’ So I went to their website, and once I looked around, I thought, ‘Oh, we can do a lot of stuff on here.’”

Spurgeon’s first experience with the packaging company was for a special project.

“We have used BoxUp for awards we give out for our distinguished alumni – we call them an Ivy Oscar,” she said. “BoxUp was the only one that was big enough to fit this Ivy Oscar in.”

The boxes also are on hand when she sends out gifts to the foundation’s board members.

“Every year, we select a different board item, and we try to do a very executive-level gift,” she said. “So last year, we did a very nice charcuterie board and a book, and we shipped them out in our mailers. This year, we’re doing a very nice set of marble and wooden coasters that are Ivy Tech branded.”

Better Marketing with Branded Boxes

Using specialty boxes is a huge marketing tool for the foundation, Spurgeon said.

Ivy Tech Foundation Mailing Boxes

“The box that it comes in is the most important part, because it really shows the Ivy Tech branding,” she said. “It’s not just touching the board member, but everyone who puts their hand on that box. And the better we make the box, the easier it is for someone to go to our website and see what Ivy Tech is all about.”

It’s important for the foundation to make a good impression.

“We’re always saying we’re in the business of ‘showbiz,’ because we’re trying to get donors, we’re trying to get people to notice us and to recognize us and say, ‘Hey, we do a great job. We do so much for the community.’”

Spurgeon said that a branded box is the “best feature I can think of.”

“Yes, we could send our gifts in a plain old white box and have people open it and be excited about a gift,” she said. “But having this extra touch – I think it brings so much more to the gift itself.”

She often uses BoxUp boxes internally at Ivy Tech, as well.

“I always order extra boxes each time when I order boxes for the board,” Spurgeon said. “We used to have gift bags for new employees, but because of COVID, I now send them out in boxes, so they get a nice surprise they weren’t expecting. They started at home, and might not know as much about us, but now they get some swag from us.”

Why BoxUp?

Spurgeon had looked in other places for boxes, but the customer experience just wasn’t as ideal as it was with BoxUp.

“Everything about BoxUp is just fantastic,” she said. “They’re so quick to answer any concern or email that I have. And their chat feature on their website? Within 5 minutes, I have my solution.”

Like many other BoxUp customers, she’s a fan of the design templates on the site.

“Designing stuff on there – I’m OK at designing, but it makes me look like a pro designer,” Spurgeon said. “If I have a vision, I can just work it out on that box template, and it’s perfect.”

What hasn’t been perfect, however, has been her prior attempts at working with other packaging companies: “Doing graphics for boxes on all these other websites is terrible,” she said. “It’s a pain. They don’t have any customer service. I mean, it’s a complete nightmare.”

Spurgeon is also a fan of BoxUp’s turnaround times.

“The shipping on them is so fast,” she said. “I can order a box, and within a week, I have the boxes. And I can just get them together and out the door.”

A Few Tips for Marketing with Custom Boxes

Like many other people new to something, Spurgeon has learned from experience on how to get the right box for your needs.

Ivy Tech Community College Custom Packaging

“Always double measure,” she said with a laugh. “Double measure the box and what you are putting in the boxes. You have to check the measurements.”

If you’re unsure of your measurements, BoxUp’s chat feature is there to help customers choose the right size mailer. Spurgeon noted how helpful it’s been to have someone walk through the different dimensions – “because that’s what they’re there for!”

“And we always order just slightly bigger, in order to keep items from moving around,” she said. It allows her to have the bed of filler – Ivy Tech branded, of course – the present in the middle and a thank-you card on top.

She also recommends something fun that she likes to do before sending out a mailing: “Our packages open like a book – I’ll always close it up and then open it to see what it looks like, and it’s just a nice feeling. It looks so fancy.”

Overall, working with BoxUp has been a positive experience. “I’ve just never been with a company that’s been so easy,” Spurgeon said.

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