5 Fundraising Tips from Hollins President

Last July a Q&A with Hollins University President Nancy Gray appeared in the business section of the Sunday Roanoke Times. I saved it because it contained Gray’s views on how the university was able to raise a substantial sum of money for its Campaign For Women Who Are Going Places during an economic slump.

Hollins did not hire a fundraising consultant, do a feasibility study, or increase its development staff. Instead, Gray said, the university focused on telling its story in a compelling way, ramped up its volunteer leadership and approached its major donors in a very personal one-on-one manner.

There’s much more to the story, which you can read here. Following is Gray’s fundraising advice to other institutions:

1. Be clear about who you are, where you’re going and how gifts are going to make a difference.

2. Recruit volunteer leaders who match up well with specific donors. “People give to people,” Gray said.

3. Match the donor’s interest and motivation with the institution’s need.

4.  Ask! “If you don’t ask, you’re not going to get.”

5.  Lastly, if someone makes a gift, thank them.

From 2002 to 2010, the Campaign For Women Who Are Going Places raised $162 million, exceeding the campaign goal of $125 million.

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