Have you ever gone canoeing without a paddle?
No? Theoretically you could—but the reality is that it would make the whole endeavor much, much more difficult.
Similarly, raising funds at academic institutions without faculty and academic leadership involvement makes the endeavor much, much more difficult. They are a critical bridge between donor and institution. They are, from the potential donor’s perspective, the people who execute the projects and programs in which the donor invests. They are where the rubber meets the road.
Research demonstrates that deepening the involvement of the faculty and academic leadership in engagement and fundraising efforts is an important step in increasing an institution’s fundraising capacity.
During the past two years, Oregon State University (OSU) launched an initiative to build a new model of faculty engagement in fundraising. Led by Shawn L. Scoville, Executive Vice President, Oregon State University Foundation, and Sabah U. Randhawa, Provost and Executive Vice President, Oregon State University, the program evolved from concept to design to implementation, in partnership with Advancement Resources and other key academic leaders at OSU.
The new program allowed more than 200 university leaders (deans, associate/assistant deans, vice provosts, school heads, department chairs, directors, and select faculty) to participate in professional on-site training experiences twice a year for three full years.
The training sessions were highly customized with specifically designed curricula for OSU’s unique needs, including:
- Sessions in which both central leaders and division leaders took part
- Development professionals presented at workshops to help build faculty and academic leaders’ collaboration with the development shop
- Assignments that participants completed between sessions so they could apply what they’d learned and receive feedback
- Actionable steps faculty and academic leaders could take to build engagement opportunities for donors and potential donors at OSU
The program was collaboratively designed and funded with equal participation by the OSU Foundation, the Office of the Provost, and academic leadership.