Universities traditionally have the most luck in their development strategies among people with close ties to the school — such as alumni and parents of students. But a concerted effort to solicit donations within the community (regardless of its educational ties to the college) has brought to fruition a philosophy professor’s dream of the University of California, San Diego, becoming a world-class leader in Greek studies.
It’s not often that any capital campaign gets four $300,000 gifts simultaneously — never mind a capital campaign for a community college.
But that’s what happened when Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, Mass., ran its first-ever capital campaign.
After years of selling a dream — raising funds for something that didn’t even exist yet — the folks at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia weren’t about to be stymied by a couple dozen dead Presbyterians.
The former Philadelphians surfaced, so to speak, in 2001, on the first day of construction on the museum and education center dedicated to enlightening the public about the Constitution of the United States of America. It seems that part of the center’s parking garage was being built on an 18th-century cemetery that had been moved in the 1950s — most of it, anyway.
When Kwi Brennan came to New Jersey’s Rutgers University in 1996, volunteers culled from the alumni and student body were raising about $2 million a year through telemarketing. Not bad, but not exactly blazing either.
Then Brennan, the senior director of annual giving, and his supervisor, Victoria Wilt, turned up the heat. Telemarketing revenues jumped up to $2.5 million in 1997, $2.9 million in 1998, $3.1 million in 1999, $3.7 million in 2000, $4.2 million in 2001, $5 million in 2002 and $5.1 million in 2003.