You are here

Articles: Fundraising

To keep Stanford front and center in the minds and hearts of its graduates, the university’s alumni association—like other institutions—is investing time on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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.

Betsy Mennell, Northern Arizona University’s development vice president, learned the hard way that “in fundraising, if you speak the language you can talk the talk, but you may not be able to walk the walk.”

After being burned a few times hiring the wrong people—“disorganized, not self-disciplined, afraid to ask for money”—she now requires candidates to tackle four tasks that every MGO must handle.

Female graduates receive fewer solicitations for donations, and they give at a lower rate than do their male counterparts, according to the “Alumni Engagement and Giving” survey by Alumni Monitor, a higher education consulting service.

At the University of South Florida, current and former scholarship recipients were among those who signed a giant thank-you card presented to donors Barron and Dana Collier during a ceremony announcing their latest major gift.

Smart advancement teams put thought and research into making stewardship individual and heartfelt. But how far will institutions bend on their mission when a donor offers big bucks? Are donors negotiating for honorary degrees, access to students, influence over scholarships or a leg up in recruiting graduates?

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.

When it comes to fundraising, most colleges and universities surveyed (59 percent) boost their effort through social media.

Also popular are social media-based days of giving and crowdfunding events. Of the 42 percent that held a day of giving, more than one-third raised over $50,000 that day. And of the 15 percent that crowdfunded, half earned more than $10,000 per year.

Charitable giving in higher education is expected to grow in the U.S. by 4.8 percent in 2015 and an additional 4.9 percent in 2016. (Click to enlarge)

Anticipating and planning future giving to nonprofits has been difficult, with scant reliable resources to help understand the outlook.

But thanks to a new report from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, institutions now have some predictions—and positive ones, at that.

Need donation spending advice? Turn to the students, as Oklahoma Christian University did.

In November, President John deSteiguer announced that students could vote to allocate a recent $275,000 gift to one of six projects in the university’s Thrive campaign.

Capital fundraising retains a top slot among institutional fundraising priorities due to renovation and construction imperatives, new program requirements and the need to update technology. In addition to broader capital campaigns and a razor-sharp focus on major donors, more institutions are seeking support from the business sector.

Advance planning: Dedicated alumni and friends of Hendrix College can purchase a niche in a campus columbarium.

From cashing in on beer sales at football games to providing community members with a safe way to trash old electronics for a fee, administrators are looking beyond tuition and endowments to make up for budget shortfalls.

Cougar Corporate Partners, a new University of Houston giving program, lets companies invest directly in programs that will have an immediate impact on students who make up the future workforce.

Half of each donation is funneled into scholarships, the first $5,000 of which are being awarded in August. The other half of the donation is split between the M.D. Anderson Library and the University Career Services Center.

One million in 400 days. That’s the amount the Billiken Angels Network, an angel investment group out of Saint Louis University’s John Cook School of Business, raised to help local start-ups.

The group invests in firms of any industry and size that show promise and make an impact on the region and its economy. The eight companies selected for the investments have created a total of 100 jobs in St. Louis.

Michael Silton is the executive director of the UCLA Venture Capital Fund.

Over the last 30 years, the number of college courses teaching entrepreneurship has increased by 95 percent, reflecting an intense demand by U.S. college students.

However, in a survey by Entrepreneur magazine, half of students polled reported that lack of resources was their main reason for not creating startups. And the Young Entrepreneur Council found that nearly three-fourths of college students claim they have no access to on-campus entrepreneurial resources.

Pages