Consulting firm releases report on campus fundraising efforts

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Michael Drummond/File

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Marts & Lundy, a national campaign consulting firm, released a report assessing the effectiveness of UC Berkeley’s annual giving and fundraising efforts Tuesday.

The administration hired consultants from Marts & Lundy to conduct studies on different aspects of the campus’s fundraising enterprises over the past year. The report determined that the campus should improve its outreach to alumni, coordinate philanthropic efforts across the campus, create a new model for distributing annual revenue and update the campus solicitation policy, according to campus Associate Vice Chancellor for Development Lishelle Blakemore.

“One thing that the report pointed to was that Berkeley has a tremendous capacity in terms of fundraising,” Blakemore said. “The consultants said they have never seen the kind of capacity this campus has.”

In this report, consultants considered information from interviews with key campus and donor stakeholders, looked at campus fundraising analytic reports and compared data with other universities, according to Blakemore. She added that the consultants relied on their own expertise to provide “the best recommendations to put us on a future path.”

The recommendations are “directive not prescriptive,” according to a press release provided by University Development and Alumni Relations, and implementing these recommendations is ultimately at the the discretion of the UC Berkeley community.

This report is a part of the beginning of a two-year collaborative process among various campus departments to update fundraising efforts, according to Blakemore. She said the goal of this process is to increase donations and provide greater opportunities to engage alumni in fundraising.

“The report emphasized the importance of having a strong alumni network, making sure alumni feel the university cares about them and that they have a way to stay connected to Cal and other alumni,” Blakemore said.

The campus raised more than $569 million in the last fiscal year and less than 10 percent of those funds came from annual giving and fundraising, according to Blakemore. The success of Big Give, an annual 24-hour online fundraising event, garnered more than 9,000 donations and led to the partnership between the campus and Marts & Lundy.

Blakemore said the consultants recommended that more parts of the campus, such as student organizations and academic departments, participate in Big Give based on its success.

Executive Director for Annual Programs Daniel Scarpelli said the report noted the importance of digital fundraising, such as the Big Give, and said the campus will review the ways it can support this kind of fundraising with technology and human resources.

“The report really lays out a terrific opportunity for Berkeley to raise money from more alumni in a more meaningful way, both for the university and alumni,” Scarpelli said. “We still have a lot of work to do to create programs, and this is going to be a multiphased process.”

Amanda Bradford is the lead academics and administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @amandabrad_uc.