Monthly Archives: February 2012

Talking Shop and Making Friends “Across The Pond”

I had the great pleasure of serving on a panel last week discussing the future of philanthropy in higher education, specifically for schools in England. The panel participated in an online chat session that proved both very engaging for me, as the lone American represented, and for my six fellow panelists as we compared experiences working in fundraising for higher education institutions and how things are different (and in some cases very similar) between the U.S. and the U.K.

The Guardian UK

The session was hosted and moderated by The Guardian UK’s Higher Education Network, and the full exchange can be found on The Guardian UK site.

Some quick observations in summary:

– Philanthropy is a relatively new phenomenon in higher education for the British, according to my fellow panelists. They view American universities as being light years ahead of their British counterparts.

How can universities attract the big cheques? Photograph: Frank Baron

How can universities attract the big cheques? Photograph: Frank Baron

– I gently refuted the notion that all or most higher education institutions in the U.S. are fabulously successful in fundraising. In fact, many are not far removed from where those in Britain find themselves, struggling to articulate why alumni should give back, to identify and reach out to their alumni, and to establish a culture of giving. While many private institutions in America have been raising philanthropic dollars for generations or even centuries, many, many public institutions were late to the game or even now are just starting such efforts. Continue reading

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The Power of Legacy Stories

Here’s a compelling story capturing the impact of alumni legacy stories. Famous or not, alumni of our institutions have life stories to tell, and facilitating that as part of the cultivation and/or stewardship phases for that alumnus/alumna and his/her family can be very powerful. I’ve had the great fortune to be a part of discovering and sharing some amazing legacies in my work, and significant gifts to the institutions in questions have resulted from that process.

As a genealogy nut I’m particularly fond of this type of work, but this is a must for any development professional.

The Narrative Company

Why Gather Legacy Stories?

If you’re interested in learning a little about why you should bother, why not read this true story… 

The Phyllis Summerhayes Story

While I believed that gathering and sharing legacy stories was important in honouring donors, it was through my administration of an estate gift to the University of Victoria in 2005, that I truly understood its immense power. 

It all started one morning when I received a call from a local lawyer informing me of an estate gift for the University of Victoria. 

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