Publications & Products
May 2017
Volume 15 Issue 5

Research and News of Note

How University Leaders Can Really Address Discrimination

Impact of Donations to UK Universities: Behind the Numbers

Stay Curious and Focused: Key Advice for Advancement Shops

More Institutions in Asia-Pacific Region Deploying “Robust” Alumni Engagement Tactics

Connect and Grow: Advice from CASE Summer Institutes Faculty

In The Unlikely Event

3 Reasons to Cut the Golf Tournament


How University Leaders Can Really Address Discrimination

Leaders who are serious about promoting diversity and equality in their organizations must commit more than just words to their cause, argues one author and professor of psychology.

Tony Greenwald, professor of psychology at the University of Washington, creator of Project Implicit and author of Blindspot, will share what work is needed to understand and address implicit bias with university leaders at the 2017 Summit for Leaders in Advancement.

Greenwald's work has centered on implicit bias and unintentional discrimination since the 1990s when he created the concept and developed the Implicit Association Test. Greenwald has been developing this research while presenting and writing about the subject for almost 20 years.

Unintended discrimination and implicit bias touch nearly all organizations, workforces, government systems and academia, underscoring the need to understand the impact bias can have on an individual's life, Greenwald says.

"Almost every university has underrepresented minorities and even overrepresented minorities," says Greenwald. "For example, if you look at promotions, it's well known that with every large organization, there's attrition of women between entry-level positions and senior leadership."

While many educational institutions have initiatives in place to promote diversity in their workforce and student body, leaders still face challenges in making considerable changes to their populations.

"One of the difficulties is the problem with the pipeline. How do we recruit individuals without falling short?" Greenwald muses. "[Some universities] are making admissions decisions based on merit and no student is turned down because of an inability to afford tuition. That's a big step but it's expensive."

But there are many organizations that can't afford to offer numerous scholarships to underrepresented minorities.

"These institutions can study diversity within their own institutions," says Greenwald. "Many of them are not looking inward and examining their own data and where their operations are lacking. Institutions have the data that will tell them if they are operating within an equitable equal opportunity form."

Even if institutions start taking big steps to focus on unintended discrimination on campus, Greenwald stresses that institutions understand that they cannot remove these biases.

"Many assume that if we understand implicit bias, now that we recognize it, we can address it [and] we can solve the problem," says Greenwald. "But the important thing about the science is that there is no evidence that any training or any program will eliminate it. Those steps [would be] to prevent them from operation."

"Universities should not be content because their leaders say they want to promote diversity, but that they actually do it," he says. "Good intentions are not enough and by themselves achieve nothing."

Learn more about implicit bias at the Summit for Leaders in Advancement, which takes place July 16-18, 2017, in San Francisco. Early bird registration ends June 2.


Impact of Donations to UK Universities: Behind the Numbers

Just two months before Megan Crean started studying at the University of Manchester, she underwent a craniotomy to remove a brain tumor. Her recovery wasn't easy but she went on to study French and business at the university. Along the way, she found help from a special scholarship for students who've suffered from brain injuries or tumors.

This week, the University of Manchester shared Megan's story on Twitter to celebrate the release of the 2017 Ross-CASE Survey of Charitable Giving to Universities. The research reported a record-breaking increase in philanthropic income of 23 percent across the 110 participating UK universities. Giving surpassed the £1 billion-a-year mark for the first time.

To celebrate the milestone, more than 50 universities across the UK thanked donors or shared stories of gift impact using the hashtag #1bnUniDonations.

Here's what several universities shared:

  • The University of Kent's Colyer-Fergusson Music Building was made possible thanks to donors.
  • The University of Brighton's advanced engineering building will open this September thanks to support from donations.
  • At the University of Birmingham, students can apply for up to £2,000 of alumni donations to fund projects to benefit their community. Projects include a career day, cycling club and LGBTQ wellness week.
  • Donations support IntoUniversity North Liverpool, a partnership between the University of Liverpool and the Liverpool Football Club Foundation to help support students ages seven to 18 with academic workshops, study sessions and mentoring.

CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham called the results a watershed moment.

"[This is a] testament to the hard work of more than 2,100 fundraising and alumni relations professionals, the academic institutions they support and the philanthropic donors who believe in investing in the important work of universities," said Cunningham. "These dedicated professionals are advancing education in profound ways and transforming lives and society in the process."

Download the 2017 report and learn more about the annual Ross-CASE survey.


Stay Curious and Focused: Key Advice for Advancement Shops

Development shops can support their institutions by maintaining a steady focus on their mission and an eagerness to learn new things, according to the executive director of one community college foundation.

Frances Squire, executive director of West Hills Community College District Foundation in Fresno, California, retires this summer after a long, illustrious career.

But when she moved into the field of advancement from journalism and communications in 2001, Squire says it was like entering a "brand new world." While skills she developed as an editor and public information officer proved useful, she says working for a foundation inspired her to rely on her inherent curiosity.

"You have to constantly learn new things. That includes attending conferences, webinars or reading blogs," she says. "I've learned something new from every job I've had."

Squire also notes that while you may not spot advancement trends as quickly as colleagues at other institutions, do look out for them, as some may form your program for years to come.

"For example, no one [in foundations] was really talking about data 10 years ago," she explains. "Now everyone I talk to is starting to do things like donor search and testing with data and those tools are becoming more sophisticated so you need to learn how to use them."

While setting a goal for continual learning, Squire emphasizes that learning time management and staying focused were also vital to the success of her team and mission.

"I have this expectation of myself and try to decide—am I focused? I have a Post-it note on my desk that says, ‘Three calls per day.' I am reminded every day I need to be in contact three times, hopefully more than that," she explains.

In addition to the above, Squire offers the following lessons learned:

  • Always be a positive presence. "I'm part of a team. I don't always get my way but I'm going to adapt to that team and be a part of it," she says.
  • Say thank you often and in many ways. "I send thank you cards. Even if we get a small gift, I try to send one. I also make lots of phone calls," she adds. 
  • Develop your staff and always look for new opportunities to help them grow professionally. "Don't be afraid to invest time and energy to develop staff. If you have someone who is not performing, remedy that situation," she advises.
  • Be the last person to sit down in a room when you attend an event. "I go to events regularly [and] I'm always the last person to sit down, because I get to know people and hear their stories," she says.


More Institutions in Asia-Pacific Region Deploying “Robust” Alumni Engagement Tactics

A new white paper reports that institutions in the Asia-Pacific region are investing more in their alumni relations programs, suggesting a growing institutional awareness of the importance of a strong and robust alumni program.

In addition to information on staffing and budget, the 2016 Asia-Pacific Alumni Relations Survey, conducted by CASE, includes data on offerings in overall operations and alumni engagement as reported by participating institutions.

Other key survey findings include:
• The number of alumni who participate in programs and the number of alumni who are contactable were the two most common measurements of engagement.
• The median alumni relations budget for participating institutions grew almost 39 percent between 2014 and 2016; during the same time period, median staff size grew from 4.8 to 5.5.
• The median percentage of alumni contactable by email was 61 percent.
• Email open rates reported by survey participants averaged 21 percent, which compares favorably to average open rates in North American and Europe of 19.5 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
• Mentoring current students or alumni and presenting or speaking to others were the two most popular alumni volunteer activities.

Forty institutions from eight countries in the Asia-Pacific region participated in the survey.

CASE launched the volunteer-led Asia-Pacific Alumni Relations Survey in 2014 to provide a resource for alumni relations professionals to benchmark performance internally and against fellow institutions of higher education. The survey is a derivative of the International CASE Alumni Relations Survey, which is in its 11th year of evaluating the alumni relations operations of European institutions.


Connect and Grow: Advice from CASE Summer Institutes Faculty

Don't be shy but do be intentional about your development goals and you'll enhance your CASE Summer Institute experience, advise several veteran CASE faculty members.

The CASE Summer Institutes offer intense, weeklong professional development for advancement professionals in fundraising, alumni relations, communications and marketing, advancement services and independent schools.

Longtime summer institute faculty members share their advice to attendees who want to make the most of the conferences.

On networking:

  • Connect with as many professionals, including the faculty, as you can. And if you come with a large group of colleagues from your own institution, for goodness sake, branch out and hang out with everyone else! The network you can create is invaluable.
    Heidi McCroy, vice president for college relations, Kenyon College, Ohio
  • As a faculty member, I'd love to take all the credit, but truly it's the attendees who help make this such a rewarding week. The group brainstorming, problem-solving and story-sharing that happens at the Summer Institute is unlike anything else I've experienced in 20-plus years in higher education marketing and communications.
    - Mike Barzacchini, director, marketing services, Harper College, Illinois

On learning:

  • Give some thought to what you really expect to learn, discover and explore about fundraising for higher education while you're committing five days of your life to this program.
    - David S. Jones, executive director, development and alumni relations, University of Georgia
  • When you're thinking about what elective sessions to attend, pick at least one that isn't directly related to your primary job responsibility. The Institute is a time to learn and stretch your boundaries. Take advantage of the diverse offerings on the agenda.
    - Matt Jennings, editorial director, editor, Middlebury Magazine, Middlebury College
  • I would approach the summer institute experience from two angles: What strategies or ideas will assist you in your current role and thus are valuable to your institution? What skills and concepts will help further your professional development and goals?
    - Karen White, executive director, alumni relations, George Washington University


In The Unlikely Event

By rethinking the approach to how you advertise, plan and run events on campus, you can garner more interest, attendees and success. 

In a recent Currents article, writer James Paterson provides advice on how to bring some (often) much-needed life to events—at low costs and with high potential ROI:

  • Crowdsource Visuals. Consider engaging attendees from the outset, such as with an eye-catching save-the-date email. For its $77 million "Blueprint for the Future" campaign, the Pingry School in New Jersey asked its save-the-date recipients to Instagram or upload casual photos of themselves. The resulting images became part of the design used in online and print promotions and were displayed during the event's introduction.
  • Engage the Masses. Generate excitement for an event by staging a unique or exclusive kickoff for major prospects. To launch a $95 million campaign in 2010, Binghamton University in New York not only held an exclusive celebration in New York City, but invited an additional 1,000 participants to follow along online. Virtual participants could watch a live feed of the main event, chat with faculty, watch additional videos and participate in contests and trivia games. The campaign successfully engaged more than 1,200 people and exceeded fundraising goals by $6 million.    
  • Change Perspectives. Take advantage of the fact that a physical event requires a location. Defy event preconceptions simply by having attendees enter an event space in an unexpected way, such as through the back door of a theater or through an alternative exit. During Harvard Law School's 2003 campaign launch gala, attendees were ushered into the law library through emergency stairs and dimly lit hallways before entering the dramatically lit stacks filled with potted boxwoods containing hundreds of white lights. Presenting the library in a new way was an attempt to capture the awe of a first-time law student, according to event coordinator Kile Ozier.

    "Alumni loved it," Ozier says. "High spirits, laughter and anticipation. They're thinking, 'What else is going to happen tonight?'"

Read more about how organizations and institutions are finding new ways to freshen up staple events in "The Return on Revelry" in the May/June issues of Currents. Download the Currents app on iTunes or Google Play to access to the digital edition.


3 Reasons to Cut the Golf Tournament

Take a deep breath before reading this next line; it may be shocking: Fundraising events aren't effective.

Or rather, events—the hallowed golf scramble, the dull alumni tea, the brimming-on-chaos dinner dance—can very easily be ineffective, says CASE faculty member Kent Stanley.

"There are lots of ways to raise money. But there are not many ways to raise money well," says Stanley, vice president for university advancement at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In his session, "How to Tell Your Athletics Director You're Killing the Golf Tournament" at the recent CASE Fundraising for Athletics Conference, Stanley explained that he grew up working at his mom's catering events. It was always easy to tell, he says, when people were having a good time and when they weren't.

What's key, he says, is to examine why your team is having an event and your true return on investment. Too many teams host fundraisers because the university has always done it that way. That's a mindset advancement professionals have to get past, he says.

"[Ask yourself] if you were starting today, would you start this event?" says Stanley.

He outlined three major reasons to stop hosting fundraising events.

  1. Fundraising events are often inefficient. Stanley came to the Fundraising for Athletics conference armed with spreadsheets outlining costs and benefits of one of his own events. Take a hard look at your events, he advises, making sure to factor in staff time and salaries. Don't forget volunteer time—the estimated value of volunteer time is $24.14, according to Independent Sector.

    "You have to get down to the true costs," says Stanley. "[Events can be] the least effective yet all of us do them."
  2. Fundraising events exhaust your staff. After pulling off a snazzy gala or a major 5K run, your team—especially a small shop—is likely to be spent. Or, as Stanley puts it, "Your staff is toast for two weeks."
  3. There are more donor-centric approaches to take instead. Hosting events can make it look as if our teams are busy doing things, but it's hard to demonstrate incremental growth, says Stanley. Consider your ROI and, instead of pouring time and resources into events that don't offer value, consider a friendraising approach. Friendraisers are events that drum up goodwill and appreciation.

    "If it's a friendraiser, take out the revenue piece and figure out how to fund it," he says.