Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Overcoming the College President's Achilles' Heel: Fundraising

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Overcoming the College President's Achilles' Heel: Fundraising

Article excerpt

Today's college president must be more than a visionary leader, motivational manager and innovative administrator. He or she must also be an excellent fundraiser and fund development manager. The institution must have the leadership, capacity, infrastructure and brand recognition required to compete for and secure large grants, corporate or government partnerships and sponsorships, and major gifts or bequests from individuals and families. This article provides 10 points for current and aspiring college presidents to consider as they strengthen and grow the institutions they lead.

Fund development and fundraising start with the president. While a vice president for advancement can be the key architect for the institution's fundraising, at the end of the day the full responsibility lies with you, the president. The president is the face and voice of the college and in many cases, she will be the one person to make the case for giving to top prospective donors. College presidents are increasingly evaluated on their ability to grow endowments, increase alumni giving rates, secure scholarship funds and manage capital campaigns.

Take the time to make the right hire. Learn to value the role of the vice president of advancement at the same level as the provost or your top athletic coaches. Think outside the box--a doctoral degree does not necessarily mean an individual has the skills and experience required to develop revenue-producing strategies and relationships. Your success is dependent upon your ability to identify top talent, to allocate resources required for success, to evaluate their efforts and to know when to search for new staff leadership.

Take the time to partner. After securing a vice president you can believe in, you must dedicate time to building a strong partnership with this individual so that he can best support the implementation of your vision. Together you, the board chair and advancement officer will engage countless others in believing in your vision, communicating your vision and funding your vision. All parties need to work together, demonstrating high levels of accountability and transparency.

Ensure allocation of adequate funds and resources required for successful fund development and fundraising. It is up to you as the president to ensure that college trustees know the level of resources required for successful fund development and fundraising. The board chair and president need to set realistic expectations for the return on investment and to report regularly to the board on progress and challenges in this area. …

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