University fundraisers are reporting an increase in donors for this fiscal year in response to a telemarketing campaign on behalf of the Annual Fund. At the end of February, the number of contributors to the fund had surpassed the number of donors from the entire 2007-08 fiscal year to the same campaign. More than 1,350 alumni, parents and friends have pledged to support the university financially after receiving calls requesting donations.
“With money a constant concern and budgets tightening, this is really great news,” said Bob Burt, vice president of University Advancement. “Even in tough times, people are willing to support Cal State East Bay.”
Trish Davenport, director of annual giving, said most of the pledges came from first-time donors. Almost 75 percent are from alumni. And although the average pledge amount is under $50, she said, the potential impact is significant.
“It’s the same as any grassroots movement,” Davenport said. If about half of CSUEB’s 90,000 alumni were to donate $10, it would total almost half a million dollars; if either participation or the average pledge amount went up, she added, the effect would be substantial.
Burt added that in lean times, gifts to the annual fund can help “fill the gap” in budgets, because a donation may be designated to a department or program but is otherwise unrestricted.
“Many university annual funds function as big centralized pots of money,” said Oliver Ramsey, associate vice president of development. “Our annual fund is unique, just like our alumni. They can designate their gifts to directly benefit the campus departments or programs that impacted their careers and lives.“
The total dollar amount pledged through the telephone campaign to date is within $3,000 of the amount raised last year, Davenport said, with four months left to continue appeals. She added that, although the numbers so far represent pledges, not actual cash, fulfillment rates are typically high.
Alumni gifts accounted for approximately 30 percent of overall donations to CSUEB last year, including telemarketing and other fundraising efforts, but only 1 percent of alumni made a donation. Additional support comes from parents of current students, faculty and staff and friends of CSUEB, such as regional business leaders.