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Volume 3, Issue 4

Jump-Start Employee Giving

By highlighting the impact scholarships make on students' lives, a Wisconsin technical college increased employee-giving participation from 34 percent to 92 percent in one year.

The Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Educational Foundation raised about $112,000 from college employees in 2012—an increase from $60,000 the year before. As a result, eight new scholarships were created. This year, employee participation appears similarly robust, and the foundation is using statistics about employee giving to garner outside support.

Crystal Harrison, foundation director, says employee giving has been a focus of the college's annual fund campaigns since she arrived at the institution in 2006. About 20 percent of employees gave that first year, raising around $30,000.

Harrison notes that she was able to generate increased interest in employee giving as a result of participating in a professional development program with several other women leaders from the college. The cohort of leaders in the program was tasked with completing a capstone project focused on an area of mutual interest.

Harrison and another advancement colleague suggested that the group leverage what the foundation was already doing with its employee giving program to raise money for scholarships.

That fall, Harrison set an ambitious goal to have 100 percent of college employees giving to the foundation in 100 days—playing off the college's 2012 centennial.

"We decided on a participation goal, not a financial goal, for the campaign," she says. "We wanted to make it truly about giving anything."

Harrison suggests others looking to boost employee giving on their campuses try the same approach. She also suggests keeping the campaign fun and energetic.

The college is currently in the midst of this year's employee giving campaign, and Harrison is trying to figure out how to sustain success. One method that has helped is enrolling employees in automatic giving via payroll deductions—something she pushed during last year's campaign. At the kickoff of this year's campaign, the college already had 57 percent participation from employees.

Harrison will discuss more strategies for increasing employee giving in a Nov. 13 CASE webinar.

Please share your questions and comments with Marc Westenburg via email at or +1 202 478 5570.

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This article is from the October 2013 issue of the Community College Advancement News.