Lessons Learned
December 1, 2007

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.

‘Dear Skippy …’
June 1, 2006

Imagine a school fundraising letter so personlized that it contains a quote not from just any teacher at the school, but rather from your child’s teacher. Or both your children’s different teachers. A letter that also went to the Joneses down the street, but with quotes from the Jones kids’ teachers.

Variable data imaging allows mailers to create mail pieces with different, often highly personalized text and images; its use so far has been mostly by for-profit mailers for high-value direct-mail campaigns, bills, statements and invoices. But Sarasota, Fla.-based private school The Out-of-Door Academy took a shot with it and found great success.

Meet Your Mission
May 1, 2006

Children are starving, but the show must go on. And if you're raising money to support a symphony, how do you convince donors that they should not only give to your cause — perhaps in lieu of helping hungry children — but also feel good about it? 

My Big, Fat, Greek Donor Base
October 1, 2005

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.

First Time's a Charm
June 1, 2005

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.

A Historic Challenge
July 1, 2004

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.

Ring of Fire
May 1, 2004

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.