Faculty as Donors

Vol. 13 No. 3

development eletter Vol13 No3 checkwriter

“100% faculty participation.” That phrase has a nice ring to it, especially when you’re trying to encourage donations from parents, alumni, and other philanthropic folks. It shows that your school’s employees feel so strongly in the school’s mission and what it’s accomplishing for its students that they’re willing to give back part of their own paycheck to support the institution.

Achieving full participation can be difficult. Sometimes life costs more than people anticipate, making spare funds scarce. Perhaps your teachers already feel like they give enough of their time and resources to their school, and so you encounter some friction when asking again. These obstacles can be overcome with hard work, however. Here are some ideas for encouraging all of your faculty to give to the annual fund or capital campaign this year.

Make it about participation, not the amount raised.

Your major donors are probably not employed by your school. Consequently, you want to show those donors that your faculty members are committed to the school’s mission, not flush with cash. To the faculty, you won’t be shaming them if they can’t contribute the “requested” donation amount this year. And so, consider eliminating benchmark “desired donation” targets and put the focus on a targeted percent of participation.

Approach your faculty peer-to-peer, not as part of a crowd.

Working with donors individually solidifies a relationship between them and the Development Office. These advocates keep your mission alive, spreading the word about the good work that your school does and exciting others about the opportunities you make available.

Soliciting donations from your faculty should be no different. Instead of relying on mass emails or reminders at staff meetings, recruit faculty advocates to approach their peers one-on-one to make the appeal.

Keep it simple!

The fewer hurdles you place in front of potential donors, the more likely they are to give. Following that philosophy, perhaps encourage your faculty advocates to include a link to your donation page in their email signatures for easy access.

Alternatively—and if your Business Manager and the faculty are on board—teachers could elect to have their pledges automatically taken from their paychecks to make donation more convenient. Some schools on our Advancement Professionals E-List have reported success with this technique.

Make a point of asking everyone.

Don’t single out teachers and administrators. It takes all kinds of support staff—such as groundskeepers, cafeteria workers, and nurses—to make your school operate. They have a vested interest in keeping your program afloat, too. After all, everyone works for the benefit of the students and to fulfill the school's mission, and so everyone can help support that mission. By asking everyone, you show your faculty that it’s really a team effort—not one driven by teachers or administrators alone.

Show them where the money’s going.

As we've said before, donors want to know how their money will be spent. In terms of faculty and staff, you have a special opportunity for campaigns that center on improving particular areas that immediately impact their unique programs.

Likewise, a capital campaign that emphasizes a particular part of the school’s mission can hold more sway with the educators than a typical donor. After all, they live and breathe the mission every day in their classrooms. Emphasize how the money promotes the school’s mission and programming, and those who personally execute that mission will jump at the chance to support it.

Additional ISM resources:
ISM Monthly Update for Development Directors Vol. 8 No. 1 Three Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections to Boost Your Annual Fund
ISM Monthly Update for Development Directors Vol. 7 No. 7 You Want Me to Ask for Money???

Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 35 No. 10 Integrating Faculty Into the Advancement Process

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