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Volume 4, Issue 5

Garnering Large Gifts Takes a Commitment

Community college advancement practitioners should spend less time on low-return efforts like golf tournaments and more time on developing a high-yielding major gifts program, says a fundraising leader.

After heading major gifts programs at Clemson University and Furman University, Robert Fuzy took the post of vice president of institutional advancement at Spartanburg Methodist College in 2009. He says one of the first major changes he made at the South Carolina two-year institution was to get rid of two major golf tournaments the advancement office ran annually.

"My best [employee] was handling these tournaments and, between the two of [these events], they were twelve-month commitments," he says. "I'd much rather have [my employee] making appointments with major donors and asking for $50,000 gifts."

Timothy Winkler, principal of the Winkler Group, helped the college kick off a major gifts campaign. The most successful major gifts programs are borne of solid annual programs, he says. Still, he notes that a strong and long-lasting commitment from institutional leaders is needed to grow major gifts.

"It takes time," he says. "You have to till a lot of soil before you get results. Also, this might sound obvious, but you have to have a plan. Institutions need to know what their gifts' pipeline is going to look like down the line."

Winkler and Fuzy will further discuss how to build a community colleges major gifts program in a CASE webinar on Dec. 9, 2014.

This article is from the November 2014 issue of the Community College Advancement News.

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