The University of California, San Diego is a public university with an enrollment of 27,500 students. It recently announced that it surpassed its seven-year, $1 billion fundraising goal — and did it with more than a month to spare.
The university’s capital campaign kicked off in 2000 with a $20 million gift from University of California regent John Moores and his wife, Rebecca, for the Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center. The campaign closed this summer with the single largest planned gift in the university’s history: $34 million for cancer research given to the School of Medicine by physician George Ury.
Here, Rebecca Newman, UCSD’s associate vice chancellor of development, reflects on the university’s massive — and massively successful — campaign.
FundRaising Success: Tell us a little about the background and time line of your capital campaign.
Rebecca Newman: Launched in July 2000, the campaign was the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of our campus. The goal was to raise $1 billion to support students and faculty, expand academic programs, fund research endeavors, and strengthen innovation funds to meet the highest-priority needs. The seven-year campaign concluded on June 30, 2007.
FS: What key elements added to the success of the campaign?
RN: The unwavering loyalty and generosity of campaign leadership, friends, foundations, corporations, alumni and parents. As the campaign went forward, faculty and staff became increasingly involved, which made [a] positive impact.
FS: Was there anything you wish you had done differently?
RN: In hindsight there are always things that could have been done differently. We struggled with data management throughout the campaign and with maintaining a robust prospect pipeline. It would have been better at the outset if we had our infrastructure firmly in place and operating seamlessly. We also entered the campaign understaffed and would have had an easier time if we had had a larger number of experienced frontline fundraisers in place.