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From: Emily Haynes
Subject: Glimmers of Hope in Higher Education Fundraising
Lately I’ve been thinking about the first stories I wrote about Covid-19. In the last week before the Chronicle went remote last March, my editor put a hold on my calendar to meet in a conference room with other reporters to discuss coverage of the virus. The calendar event just said “Coronavirus.” I remember reading the notification before the meeting: “Coronavirus, in 15 minutes.”
That I once needed a reminder to think about Covid-19 seems absurd. Like most people, I spend the majority of my days thinking about the virus, how it’s transformed society and our lives, and what lies ahead.
Covid -19 has reshaped fundraising, too, of course, but our recent reporting reveals signs of hope. A new study shows higher education fundraisers feel hopeful. Sixty-six percent of chief advancement officers, vice presidents, and associate vice presidents said they expected their institution to meet its fundraising goals for fiscal year 2021. Among gift and alumni officers, that share was 62 percent. Get the full take in College Fundraisers’ Confidence Continues to Be on the Upswing.
Another bright spot: Capital projects are returning to the top of college fundraisers’ to-do lists. Earlier surveys in April, June, and September indicated that many campaigns had slowed or were stopped. However, I recently reported on campaigns that are doing well during the pandemic; I spoke to fundraisers who feel energized about these big pushes — despite precarious economic conditions.
“We continue to be very encouraged by the stock market as a bellwether and as a guide to donors feeling like they have extra capital to give away,” Gail Perry, a fundraising consultant, told me. Get more insights and tips in Fundraising Campaigns Move Forward Despite Pandemic Disruption.
Some pandemic pivots even showed us a better way to do things and are likely here to stay. Fundraisers have learned to cultivate big donors using videoconferencing, for example, which could lead to a permanent reduction in travel. Some are calling for new metrics to evaluate fundraising success. Despite all of the challenges of the past year, let’s remember that this crisis will likely lead to new and better ways of fundraising.
Experts Weigh InHow quickly the economy recovers will be important, but there are steps nonprofits can take on their own, like doubling down on retention.
FundraisingFundraisers expect the bulk of their events to continue happening online as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on. The Chronicle asked experts what they learned about hosting virtual events in 2020 and how to make them even more successful in the year ahead. Plus, a checklist for virtual-event presenters.
Virtual EventsFirst impressions matter — even if they’re virtual. Catalyst, a nonprofit dedicated to workplace equity for women, created a checklist for speakers at its virtual events.
Tip of the Week
To build a successful women’s giving program, integrate a female-focused strategy into your fundraising, rather than viewing it as separate from other development programs. This does not have to mean big investments, additional staffing, or organizational restructuring — unless, of course, that’s the route you prefer. Boosting results from women donors can be as simple as taking the following steps:
- Integrate concepts proven by research into staff education and existing outreach efforts.
- Audit your communication materials to ensure women are well represented in photographs, stories, gift recognition, and news.
- Manage your database so you have the ability to acknowledge and report on a woman’s gift individually and by household.
Learn more in How to Build a Strong Women’s Philanthropy Program. And explore the advice section of our website for more than 1,150 advice articles and tools.
New Grant Opportunities
Your Chronicle subscription includes free access to GrantStation’s database of grant opportunities. Among the latest listings:
- Livable Communities. The AARP Community Challenge grant program supports quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages, including projects to improve public spaces, housing, transportation, civic engagement, coronavirus recovery, diversity and inclusion, and more. Projects that demonstrate the ability to accelerate and sustain the community’s livability for all, especially those 50 plus, and/or projects that focus on diversity and inclusion are of special interest. Grants will range from several hundred dollars for smaller short-term activities to several thousand or tens of thousands of dollars for larger projects. The application deadline is April 14.
- Music. The Amphion Foundation’s mission is to promote excellence in, and public appreciation of, contemporary concert music, particularly by American composers. Grants are provided to publicly supported nonprofit performing ensembles, presenters, festivals, and music service organizations. In general, grants range from $1,000 to $7,500, although larger grants may be awarded to major performing organizations. Applying organizations must have been in existence for at least two years and have completed two full seasons of programming before the time of application. The deadline for performing ensembles is April 1. The deadline for presenters, festivals, and music service organizations is September 15.