I am hearing this more and more as I travel and speak with diocesan development officers:
We are considering adopting a university model of development
I served as the chief advancement officer for three institutions of higher education.
Even with this experience, I am not really sure what a “university” model of development is.
I think, and I may be wrong, that diocesan development directors look to the higher education advancement arena in relation to that sector’s emphasis on securing major gifts and, from such witness, decide that they, as their counterparts in higher education, need to develop and staff a major gifts office.
Yet, this imperative, of securing and developing a major gifts office, is not the exclusive practice of colleges and universities.Â
It is just good and essential not for profit development practice.
There are, however, some similarities between annual fund operations in both the higher education and diocesan setting.Â Firstly, one must understand that 30% of the operating support a college or univeristy receives comes directly from alumni.Â This being said, how does a college maximize the revenue received from this sector?
Alumni giving is directly dependent upon a positive student experience. (Do you think that individuals give to your diocesan annual appeal if they have had a bad experience with a pastor or other church official?)
Alumni giving is dependent upon ongoing engagement as their is a direct relationship between the size of gift and the length to which the alma mater has engaged the prospect/donor. (How often do you communicate to your donors and what do you communicate?Â Do you only reach out to your appeal donors when you send them a pledge reminder?)
Alumni give when asked and young alumni should be asked for a small contribution (In your direct annual appeal mail pieces, do you have the same guide to giving to all of your constitutents?Â Are you asking lapsed or never givers to make the same commitment as current donors?)