Enhancement of the Office of Development to Improve
Contributions from Alumni and the Private Sector
As a public university, approximately 33 percent of Prairie View A&M University’s total funding comes from the State of Texas. Subsequently, there is a need for the university to develop methodologies and train staff to seek external sources of funds to support the teaching, research and service mission of the university.
The Title III funded activity to enhance the Office of Development had three goals:
Goal 1: To identify and locate graduates and private donors who would contribute to the university
Goal 2: To establish a University Development Council to identify college/department development needs and help find ways to address the needs
Goal 3: To increase alumni and private sectors’ awareness of services provided by the Office of Alumni Relations
Activity Outcomes and Impact
Title III funding supported revision of the university’s website and provided alumni access to screens to update their contact information. Over 12,000 files were updated and added to the database. Once alumni contact information was updated, the database was used to identify prospective donors and provide the base for a capital campaign needed to enhance the university’s access to funds in support of teaching, research, and service.
Enhancement of the development office came at a time when the university needed to raise $12,000,000 in order to take advantage of matching funds made available by the State. The Title III activity is primarily responsible for the increased support the university received from alumni and the private sector.
Since January 2003, the university received over $24,000,000 in cash gifts, pledges, state and private matching funds, and in-kind gifts. Approximately 7% (1,036) of the gifts to the campaign were from alumni. Of the 1,036 alumni donors, seventy-nine percent were first-time donors to Prairie View A&M University (see figure 1). The number of alumni giving to the capital campaign increased from 80 in 2003 to 1,036 in 2007 (see figure 2). First-time donors gave an average of $935 to the campaign. In addition to the increase in individual alumni donations, the number of alumni organizations contributing to the university’s capital campaign increased from five to 25 (see figure 3).
Much of the success of the project to enhance the Office of Development came from the investment made in training personnel. The director of development, associate director of development, grants writer, prospect researcher, director of alumni relations, and the specialist in alumni affairs received training that enhanced their job performance. These enhancements included, but were not limited to, fund-raising strategies, enhanced computer skills, planning recognition events, planning fund-raising events, and communicating with potential donors.
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