Publications & Products
Fundraising Fundamentals, Section 3.2


Key Working Relationships and Links with Other Offices and Departments

For development and fundraising activities to be successful, they must be embedded across the institution.

Fundraising is both a team-based activity and the shared responsibility of every office/department. It should be included not only in the institution’s overall strategic plan but also in the individual strategic and operational plans of every office or department.

By embedding fundraising in this way, the institution will find it easier to develop appropriate fundraising projects that can add real benefit to its strategic goals. It will also be easier to identify and exploit new opportunities that might otherwise go unrecognised.

Development activities may be a new undertaking for many departments. Recognise that you are asking others to engage in something new (and potentially outside of their comfort zone), as well as adding to their workloads. Provide context for why development activities are important for the larger institution, offer training where appropriate and celebrate success often. Championing the development office is an ongoing activity.

Whilst every department has a role to play, there are some key areas with substantial crossover:

  • Academics need to engage in fundraising and promote their specialist areas. They can assist in project development and the cultivation and stewardship of prospects.
  • The vice-chancellor/principal’s office is an important ally for the development team, helping to manage the time of the institution’s leaders and engaging them in donor cultivation and stewardship.
  • Alumni relations, marketing and communications need to work closely together to ensure they promote consistent, effective messages about the institution and leverage one another’s resources and activities.
  • The finance office assists with gift processing, accounting and reporting to help set fundraising targets and to ensure that project funding flows smoothly.
  • The careers office can build strong relationships with companies and alumni.
  • Student recruitment and international student recruitment efforts can benefit from strong relationships with alumni and the establishment of bursaries and scholarship funds.
  • The members of current student organisations (unions, clubs, etc.) are the alumni of the future. Whilst at the institution they can assist with fundraising, benefit from funds raised and form beneficial relationships with alumni.
  • Estates development can contribute to the identification of fundraising projects and are often recipients of fundraising income (to support capital projects).
  • Enterprise/commercialisation activities and fundraising generate a great deal of synergy. Both require long-term relationship management to be successful and are externally focused, and both benefit from cross-marketing and the sharing of information.

Action Items
    • Make sure that development activities are in the institution’s overall strategic plan, as well as in the individual strategic and operational plans of every office/department.
    • Focus on building strong relationships with the departments where there is substantial crossover, and ensure that key departments understand the needs of the development function and are equipped to support it.

You Might Also Want to Read:

Role and importance of alumni relations
Reporting lines and organisational structure
Championing the office internally
Building a cadre of support

Shirley Pearce, vice-chancellor at Loughborough University, talks about establishing an effective advancement function into an institutional strategic plan and getting buy-in.
Shirley Pearce discusses development department organizational structure.