As the June 2010 end of Miami University’s campaign For Love and Honor draws closer, the university continues to modify its efforts in order to reach its monetary goals.
The campaign will need to receive another $231 million in order to reach its $500 million goal by 2010.
Although the campaign began in 2002 with hopes of raising $350 million by Dec. 31, 2007, the university announced in September 2006 an increased goal of $500 million and an extended end date of June 2010, according to Kevin Marks, director of university advancement programs and associate campaign director.
Administration announces endowment program
One way the university is attempting to meet its goal is through an endowment program unveiled to the university community during the April 9 university senate meeting.
The program would allow faculty, staff, and retirees, to donate a minimum of $10,000 per individual paid over a period of 10 years. Currently, the minimum contribution to the campaign is $25,000 paid over a period of five years.
Marks said this change was to allow current and retired faculty and staff a chance to be financially involved with the fund-raising efforts of the university.
“The reason we’re creating this program … is to show that this is a special group of folks who have already given a lot to the university, in terms of expertise … this just gives (employees) a chance to give financially,” Marks said.
He said that faculty and staff members have already donated $4.7 million to the campaign.
The endowment is named, meaning that the donor can choose to honor him or herself or someone else – either a relative, friend or mentor – once the entire donation is paid to the university. The named endowment will create a student scholarship, fellowship, or other program of the donor’s choice.
“(This allows) current and former employees to establish a lasting monument to the university,” said Provost Jeffrey Herbst at the university senate meeting.
Jayne Whitehead, vice president of university advancement, agreed.
“I hope this will be a way to honor those willing to make investments in our institution,” she said.
Under the new program, after the $10,000 is paid by the donor, the university will match the contribution with $5,000. Marks said this university money comes from unrestricted gift funds. He said the idea is new to the campaign, as it not only decreases the amount allowable for an individual donation and increases time allowable to pay a donation, but also promises matched funds from the university.
The endowment program will run for the duration of the campaign until its June 2010 completion.
Officials put campaign into context
Although he backed the 2006 fund-raising increase, President David Hodge said that $500 million is a stretch goal that will require greater focus and a clearer vision from the university.
“I’ve tried to help develop the advancement staff, making sure the central and divisional services are clearly matched, (and that) the core messages and strategies are clear,” Hodge said.
He said that a relatively new staff in university advancement services meant that there was a lag in the process of developing a campaign, but that the vision is becoming clearer and stronger.
Hodge compared the fund-raising efforts to those at the University of Washington, where he served as dean of the College of Arts and Science, as well as in several other capacities.
“The University of Washington raised $2 billion (because it is a) more developed organization with respect to fund-raising,” Hodge said. “Miami doesn’t have a deep tradition of giving despite the passion of alums.”
Marks said that this is only the third campaign in Miami’s history.
“For (Miami) being almost 200 years old, I’m surprised it hasn’t had more of these campaigns,” Marks said.
As fund-raising campaigns are ways of funding university development efforts, Marks added that almost every college and university has fund-raising campaigns.
Hodge said that it used to be that the university would go through high and low periods of fund raising and development. Now, he said, the goal is to have the university develop at a steady pace.
“The campaign kicks it up to a new plateau,” Hodge said.
He said the goal is that the university will maintain the plateau after the campaign is over and then regroup about academic missions during the time between
fund-raising campaigns. He said three to five years after the end of For Love and Honor, the university will consider having another campaign.
“Of course we will (have another fund-raising campaign),” Hodge said. “(The university) will have a break and get into it again.”
Administrators look to the future
Hodge said while Miami’s campaign has made tremendous progress, the university is still relatively inexperienced when it comes to fund-raising efforts.
In hopes that 2009 would be a good fund-raising year, Hodge said he wanted to move the end of the campaign back so that it would include the university’s bicentennial.
“Hodge wanted the bicentennial celebration to be part of the campaign,” Marks said. “We can tie the two together.”
Tying the two together ensures that attention drawn toward the bicentennial event can translate into fund-raising money for the campaign.
With regards to how the money will be spent, Marks said that part of the allocation of the unmarked funds (those not designated for specific programs or schools within the university) is still in part undecided.
One thing the campaign money may be designated for is the building of a new student center.
Hodge said one of the main reasons for increasing the amount for the campaign was to ensure that there would be $50 million to be allotted for the Bicentennial Student Center Project.
However, Marks said spending the money for a new student center is still only a consideration and not a certainty for the campaign.
In the case that the university does not reach its fund-raising goal by 2010, Hodge said that such an occurrence would be “some slight embarrassment” to the university.
Yet, Marks said that because of the university’s alumni, partnerships with corporations, connections with students’ parents and relationships with other donors, he is confident that the university will reach its goals by 2010.
“I have every confidence we will reach our fund-raising goal,” Marks said. “Miami is blessed with many generous alumni, friends, parents and partner corporations.”
In order to stay on track to meet its goals, Marks said the campaign will have to raise $5-6 million per month.
During the 2006-07 academic school year, Miami representatives traveled to four cities – Cincinnati, Columbus, Chicago, and New York – to raise money.
“(In-person visits) are the best way to secure connections with alumni, parents and other supporters,” Marks said.
During the trips to these cities, Marks said that representatives meet with alumni and friends to discuss how Miami influenced their lives and to encourage them to provide the same opportunities for present and future students by financially supporting the university.
He said that individuals who serve in volunteer roles for the university (in the capacity of holding memberships on organizations such as the board of trustees, the business advisory council and an advisory council for a specific school within the university), are likely to be campaign contributors.
Although finalized plans for the fund-raising campaign during the 2007-08 academic year is of yet unplanned, Marks said that the university advancement staff is hoping to expand its efforts, possibly to include additional trips to cities.