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November 2, 2017

What role does philanthropy play in your institution’s future?

By Caitlin Scarano

Caitlin@aluminateus.com

2 minutes

When planning for your institution’s future, what role does philanthropy play?

In an article titled “The Future of Philanthropy on Campus” on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ website, Margo Wolanin, senior associate vice president for development, discusses the role of fundraisers in UNLV’s future.

One of the key arguments of this article is that donors are no longer “giving blindly to an altruistic idea,” and instead seek causes with a “strategic mission that can show results.” These days, philanthropists often demand transparency, involvement, and the ability to see the impact of their giving and the progress of the initiative.

Citing recent data from the Pew Research Center and the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Wolanin points out the “multifaceted effects of an information-saturated world, a culture in which controlling the messages is key to controlling or influencing behavior. For university fundraisers, this increases the need for strategic stewardship that promotes confidence in the role of higher education.”

Especially during uncertain times, asserting your institution’s strategic goals and effectiveness are especially important.

One way to prove the effectiveness of fundraising, practice transparency, and to get donors involved is through story. For example, if an alum donates money to a specific scholarship initiative, an institution can demonstrate how that specific scholarship led to the one student’s success by allowing that student to tell their story to the alum (in a letter, video, or even a meeting).

Can you articulate and demonstrate the story of your donor’s impact on the university community? Ready to take the next step in honing those skills?

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