Fundraising Talks
News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research
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Looking for funding opportunities? We've identified a few funds that might be useful to you. Visit the links below to learn more about the requirements and deadlines for these opportunities. 

June 15

July 2

July 2
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 Sapna Varghese

Director of Advancement Research 



Sandra Nicholes

Prospect Researcher 301.445.1952


Bethany Jones

Office Clerk


Letter from the Director
Dear Colleagues,
Commencements and exams are behind us, campuses are quieter, and we begin the race to year-end. I know we all look forward to quiet summer months, when we can think of planning and goals for FY 19.
One such goal is c ultivating great relationships and instilling a culture of philanthropy with new alumni. This should begin as early as possible--years before graduation when their journey beings on campus as students. This notion is supported by the r esults from the Voluntary Support of Higher Education (VSE) survey from the Council for Aid to Education, which indicates that alumni giving increased by 14.5 percent (to $11.37 billion) in 2017. Although many times we focus and rely on major gifts to fulfill successful fundraising campaign goals, it is equally important for fundraisers to broaden donor pools and engage younger alumni. 
A recent blog post by EAB, Create a Culture of Giving for Young Donors , provides some ways to engage students and young alumni. In the past, universities have encouraged senior giving initiatives that focus on physical gifts like a senior ring or a class tree. Although these initiatives may cause a peak in giving during students' senior year, it may not leave them with a lasting impression that inspires them to continue to connect with your institution. Therefore, the blog suggests that a senior giving initiative should "focus on passion-driven gifts to increase involvement and create a culture of giving towards the students' alma matter." Three approaches mentioned in the blog are:
  1. Fund a compelling campaign over time, such as a scholarship fund.
  2. Give students the power to choose where their gift will go.
  3. Count any university gift towards campaign goals.
It may take several years of commitment and cultivation to mold a major gift prospect or donor. New graduates are in the real world launching their new lives, but fundraisers should not ignore this population during this time period. This is a great time to engage young alumni in many meaningful ways that may allow them to use their talents and expertise to create a mutually beneficial relationship. We hope that you find the approaches mentioned in this newsletter helpful in augmenting donor pools and engaging new graduates. 
As always, please feel free to reach out to us with questions, comments or any assistance with prospect research!
Best Regards,
Sapna and USM Advancement Research Team

Michael Bloomberg will donate $375 million to a variety of education initiatives over the next five years that aim to prepare students to enter college or the workforce. Bloomberg Philanthropies is a large supporter of the American Talent Initiative, which is a group of 100 colleges and universities with a goal to increase the number of low-income students they admit and graduate. Bloomberg's commitment echoes the commitments many other philanthropists are making to education initiatives. This October, Bill Gates announced his plans to invest $1.7 billion in US public education. Recently, Stephen Schwarzman and the Blackstone Group donated $25 million to the public high school he attended.

According to a recent Wealth-X report, the world's billionaire population and their combined wealth reached record highs in 2017, thanks to strong performances across major economies and equity markets.  This increase could also be a result of stable exchange rates against the U.S. dollar, as the billionaire's net worths were converted into dollar amounts. Last year, the world reached a total of 2,754 billionaires--a 15 percent increase from the year prior. Additionally, in 2017 Asia overtook North America for largest billionaire population for the first time in eight years. However, Europe still holds the title of most billionaires, with 821. In 2017, the number of female billionaires grew 18 percent, outpacing the growth rate in male billionaires. Read more here.

Have you ever seen news of a major gift to another non-profit organization from one of your alumni who was never cultivated as a prospect? According to The Helen Brown Group, this happens at many organizations for a variety of reasons. However, there are steps researchers and fundraisers can take to prevent this from happening in the future. The Helen Brown Group suggests doing the following:
  • Wealth screen as often as you can using different products
  • Validate and analyze your screening results
  • Use a multitude of alert services
  • Get your database in order
  • Watch your personal (data) hygiene 
  • Communicate better
June is the perfect month to create a mid-year appeal, according to this blog post from npENGAGE. As you may know, charitable giving is on the upswing and June is the second largest giving month of the year. An engaging appeal is a great opportunity to create exposure for your organization through educating others on your past, current, and future efforts. npENGAGE suggests starting your appeal planning by choosing a story to highlight. An individual's story can enhance a donor's understanding and increase their connection to your cause. This blog post offers advice on everything from choosing a story, to personalizing an appeal, to acknowledging a gift. Read the full post here.

Many believe that soliciting a donor for a major gift is bad news for annual funds. However, when properly coordinated, major gift solicitations can be beneficial for an annual fund. The University of Pennsylvania Law School has long used the dual ask or blended gift (a major gift and an annual gift) as part of their strategy. This article from the Annual Giving Network outlines how the University of Pennsylvania has successfully solicited blended gifts. Above all, Laura Tepper, Director of Development, recommends that annual gift and major gift staff communicate with one another every step of the way.