Summary Recommendations for Increased Engagement & Campaign Readiness
In July 2012, the University of Georgia launched the silent phase of a comprehensive campaign that is set to be “no less than $1 billion” with a tentative timeline of 8 years. A potential public launch of the campaign in 2017 would coincide with the centennial year for the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
FACS has submitted a $10 million goal for academic initiatives that will support and enhance the experience of our students and faculty.
University-wide comprehensive campaigns are an excellent opportunity for individual colleges to leverage the branding and resources of a large campaign in order to secure transformational gifts for the students and faculty it serves. In order to gain the most from this opportunity, the college retained an outside consultant, Lighthouse Counsel, to conduct a series of personal interviews, focus groups, and online surveys to students, current and retired faculty and staff, parents of current students, donors, friends, the FACS Alumni Board of Directors, and each academic department’s leadership and key faculty.
A presentation by Lighthouse Counsel was presented on June 5, 2015 that included an overview of research findings from 650+ participants and key recommendations for increased engagement and campaign readiness. What follows is a summary of those recommendations, prepared by Victoria Prevatt, Executive Director of Development and Alumni Relations.
Strengths of FACS
Makes students feel welcome
Relevant and practical
Diversity of academic disciplines
High quality undergraduate experience
Leadership opportunities for undergraduate students
Leader in research for understanding families and consumers
Strong legacy and history on campus
Direct and positive difference in people’s lives
Impact across the state through extension and outreach
Engaged in community
Trustworthy and credible
Challenges for FACS
Lack of major gift pipeline
Lack of volunteer leadership structure (Dean’s Cabinet/Advisory Board)
Not enough proposals/asks
Need for graduate student funding/support
Need more deliberate parent engagement
Lack of funding for students
More career guidance for 4th and 5th year students
Increase opportunities for alumni to engage with students and faculty
College leadership’s lack of understanding in development/fundraising efforts
Lack of continuing education opportunities that may bring alumni back to campus
Better communication with relevant industry and more coordination on communication with potential business/corporate partners
Provide funding and assistance for student internships
Update facilities and space
Sharing FACS story with broader audience
Key Recommendations for the College:
Create a culture of philanthropy that includes college leadership, academic departments, students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and other friends and supporters of FACS.
Office of Development and Alumni Relations should provide coaching for Dean’s Executive Cabinet and key faculty on how to be more engaged in fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the college.
Increase corporate and business partnerships with the college. Have an organized and comprehensive approach with potential partners that would include opportunities in the areas of student internships, research, outreach and extension, event sponsorships, speaking engagements, campaign goals, and understanding of proposal process.
Establish a fundraising-focused advisory board of key alumni and corporate leaders.
Be strategic about engaging parents and families early in a student’s academic career. Include in college-wide correspondence and invitations where appropriate.
Maximize opportunities for networking and engagement between students, alumni, and faculty.
Expand role of FACS Alumni Board of Directors. Use board members to host events. Establish a Young Alumni Council.
Create targeted fundraising appeals that directly support students and faculty.
Increase the number of prospective donors being cultivated and engaged with visits and personal asks.
Identify and promote additional avenues for alumni involvement such as guest alumni lecture series, mentoring of current students, student recruitment initiatives and networking events.