Increasing Giving by Faculty and Staff

Posted on 02/01/2019

Faculty and staff participation in the annual fund can be an important element of the success of an institution’s short and long-term fundraising efforts. Employees can not only be a significant source of gift revenue each year, they can also help enhance a culture of philanthropy on campus and set a good example for students (future alumni!) through their support. Additionally, it’s not unusual for employees who are properly cultivated to become major donors through planned gifts later in life.

Unfortunately, many educational institutions don’t do enough to encourage giving by faculty and staff. Some don’t solicit them at all, and those that do can end up with participation rates that average 10 percent or less. According to AGN research:

  • 32% of institutions don’t run a faculty/staff giving campaign at all
  • 47% don’t have any faculty or staff volunteers
  • 76% don’t have a formal committee/board to engage faculty and staff leaders

Understanding the importance of engaging employees in fundraising, The University of Delaware recently crafted an appeal that truly caught the attention of their faculty and staff, and made giving easy and memorable. The “Opening Doors” campaign was designed to increase participation by highlighting how employee financial support has a direct impact on UD students. The comprehensive, multi-channel effort included a letter signed by the student body president, who also happens to be a UD scholarship recipient. Campaign postcards were created so that students could write thank you notes to faculty and staff donors.

In keeping with the campaign theme, the team also designed special “door hangers” to help spread the word. The door hangers directed employees to “Display their Blue Hen pride” by posting them on their doors or in their cubicles. Sharing fundraising collateral in their spaces enabled faculty and staff members to show their support for giving back to the community while promoting the effort among their peers.

Launched as part of their spring fundraising push, the campaign was a big success. It raised nearly $1 million from more than 900 donors. Just as significantly, it helped to raise awareness among employees and students about the importance and impact of annual giving.

By distributing a creative visual as part of their recent faculty and staff campaign, UD motivated their employees not only to give, but also to help publicize the effort, in turn strengthening the culture of philanthropy on campus. Develop a memorable and prideful campaign specifically for the employee constituency at your institution, and you may find you open doors for greater support as well.

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