These are trying times for university fundraisers tasked with separating alums from their money.
In economic downturns, folks are less likely to give their money away; at UNC Chapel Hill, that reality is leading the university's advancement operation to tweak its strategies a bit. Private giving to the university is down 8 percent from last year.
In a report to campus trustees this morning, advancement chief Matt Kupec highlighted a few areas where his operation is shifting its focus.
• Focusing efforts on getting alums who have already donated money to give again.
• Focus on "expendable" gifts, rather than endowments. This means looking for gifts the university can spend now, rather than gifts that create endowments intended to last for decades or more.
• Work harder on cultivating relationships with alums, the idea being that when the recession recovers, the university must pounce.
"When this thing does turn around, we want to be first in line," Kupec said. "It's going to pay off."
About a half-year ago, university officials were contemplating UNC-CH's next massive fundraising campaign. Then, the bottom fell out of the nation's economy.
"Things have gotten worse," Kupec said. "Fundraising across America has gotten very difficult."