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Articles: Fundraising

BEREA, KENTUCKY—President Lyle Roelofs likes to buy running shoes for his students at Berea College—as long as they get some exercise with him twice weekly before class.

Here are seven things higher ed search leaders and administrators believe campus administrators must do in the coming year to get the job done.

 Donald Hasseltine, formerly vice president for development at Brown University, is now a senior consultant with the Aspen Leadership Group.

Alumni participation is falling at a precipitous rate, the number of mid-level major gifts are flat, and annual fund support has struggled to keep pace with inflation.

Event management systems have given schools greater control over everything from booking spaces to ordering food, linens and equipment.

UNLV students worked with mentors provided by Food & Water Watch’s Take Back the Tap campaign to create a matching fund for station installation. (UNLV).

Hydration stations are popping up at several colleges and universities to promote environmental consciousness and healthfulness on campus.

Marc C. Whitt is director of philanthropy communications at the University of Kentucky Office of Philanthropy. He may be followed on LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/marcwhitt) or Twitter (@marcwhitt).

In a 2017 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly 7 in 10 Americans reported using social media “to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information and entertain themselves.”

Ensuring students are prepared for college and then do well academically, emotionally, physically and financially are key goals of student success initiatives on campuses today. Top institutional officials have student success on their minds—most of them even more so than in 2016, according to a UB survey that includes responses from 66 presidents, chancellors and provosts. 

When Teri McIntyre was a University of Wisconsin undergrad in the early ‘90s, she volunteered to call alumni to ask for college fund donations and—believe it or not—she liked making those calls. A university development officer noticed and offered McIntyre a job after graduation.

The U.S. experienced a decrease in million-dollar donations in 2014. (Click to enlarge)

At least 1,831 gifts of $1 million or more—a total of $24.5 billion—were given to charity across eight international regions in 2014, with higher education remaining the top recipient.

Yet it’s a decrease from 2013, when 1,995 donations worth $26.3 billion were reported.

Texas A&M University’s campaign to raise $4 billion for research, facilities and scholarships represents the largest-ever fundraising effort in a state known for going big. It’s also the second largest effort announced by a higher education institution.

Mike Sapienza

The variety of challenges facing enrollment leaders are well documented: changing demographics, increased competition for students, scarce outcome data— and the list goes on. Resources are also limited, and so it is critically important for enrollment managers to measure the ROI of the initiatives they take and then adjust as necessary.

A majority of higher ed leaders expect modest to significant increases in tuition revenue in 2015. (Click to enlarge chart)

Multiple forces are pushing institutions to change from the financial status quo. Institutions are feeling more pressure to advocate for state higher ed funding, prove their value to students and support the simplification of debt repayment. Yet some campus leaders might just be fine with the opportunities that scrutiny can bring, and in many cases, administrators are meeting those challenges.

Happy trails: Community members who have walked, jogged or biked the trails that crisscross the campus of Brookhaven College in Texas have given back to the institution through donations, even when they have no other ties to the school.

Supporting local economic and civic projects is a central part of the mission for community colleges that rely on voter approval for funding.

In Kansas, for example, voters elect the six members of their community college’s board of trustees, which levies taxes to pay for the school’s operating expenses. Residents, however, can challenge the board’s decisions and force a referendum on any tax increase.

It was Capital University against Wittenberg University, neighboring Ohio schools. Purple against red. Crusaders against Tigers.

In spring 2014, officials at each of the institutions engaged with young alumni through the Gold Cup Challenge. And when the competition ended in June, Capital won bragging rights, with 2,037 points—one for each new young alumni donor compared to the previous fiscal year.

Here's how colleges and universities are using social media to connect with alumni.

If you build it, they will come. Your alumni are already Facebooking, tweeting and linking in, in ever-increasing numbers. Colleges and universities are taking advantage of this activity to launch and grow robust social networks of graduates that strengthen alumni engagement, boost volunteerism and stimulate giving.

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