Fundraising in Student Affairs (Part I)


Building a fundraising program is like building an empire: it takes careful consideration and strategically placing people in the right places to make the ask. Fundraising in student affairs is a no-brainer: we already have the tools we need for success: relationships with people, traditions, and the best part: why.

The fundamentals/components begin with Why. You will always be more successful when you state your case (mission statement) to your department head, should you want to build your empire of volunteers. Your case should

  1. Align with the social values that govern your work
  2. Summarize the obstacles standing in the way of realizing these values. AKA: What is the problem we are solving?
  3. Outline what needs to be done — the solutions to overcome the obstacles (your solutions-oriented people will be the rockstars here)
  4. Affirm that your organization exists to help realize these values and carry out the solution.

Source: The Fundraising Institute – IUPUI

Once those are all put into place, you can build your empire (AKA: how you are going to staff your campaign)

  • Governing Board: must be able to articulate Character, Quality of Strength. This can be made of of the Board of  Trustees from the Univ — Board of Directors of the Foundation — Board of Advisors.  Some key components you must bring to your board: Work, Wisdom, Wealth, and Wallop (the influence/clout)
  • Staffing: They must have the qualifications and they must have the strength to support the campaign in any capacity
  • Volunteers: These are probably the most important people in the group. The volunteers are your translators/clearing house for the ask. They are the ones who have the relationship with the donor, and they are the ones who will be with the development officer when they meet the donor. (In the student affairs world — these could be your RHDs/Assistant Directors/Directors — the ones who have the most tenure positions and/or the highest quality of relationship with the Donor {the former student} )

Source: The Fundraising Institute – IUPUI

We have the opportunity to make something great happen in our field. Some examples of where I can see money going to is to fund scholarships/endowments for our students to live in our more “enhanced” housing on campus where some of our LLCs are located. I would love to see a campaign through our department to help fund need-based students to live in our enhanced housing with a specific LLC in mind.  What are some of the issues on your campus that could be resolved with assembling a development office under student affairs?

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November 2014
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