Employees pledge $892,503 at University Campaign, marking third-highest drive ever for CMU

Central Michigan University's current and former employees pledged $892,503 for the 2012 Annual University Campaign, the third-highest total donation in school history.

The College of Business Administration was the recipient of two of the seven AUC awards last week during the campaign luncheon.

CBA pledged the most money by a college with more than 100 employees at $150,787 and received the highest participation by a college of the same size with 50-percent participation.

“I think what (the awards) really say is we’re pretty invested in our efforts here in the College of Business and across campus,” said Sandy Sommer, director of development for the CBA. “We had high participation, because everybody is involved and cares about the university, not only just about supporting their own programs.”

Each year, faculty, staff and retirees of CMU make internal pledges between mid-October and the first week in December for the annual campaign. CMU will match 50 cents of each dollar donated during the campaign.

This year, a combined 1,011 current and former employees made contributions to various areas, including scholarships, athletics, the library and many of CMU's individual departments.

Faculty pledging increased 13 percent from last year, with 331 faculty members supporting the campaign. Professional and administrative employees also made strides by setting an all-time record of 280 individuals participating.

Brian Griffin, director of annual giving, said the two groups were key in this year’s campaign success.

“I think we’ve built the campaign over time,” Griffin said. “I think what we’ve done is we’ve engaged people more on campus. This year was the third-highest year we’ve had, so we were pretty pleased.”

In 2010, CMU reached an all-time high total donation of $1.23 million during its AUC.

This year, the athletics department pledged $83,273, the most by a department with more than 25 employees, and posted the top participation in the same category with a 100-percent contribution rate.

“Athletics were at 100-percent participation, so everyone who works for athletics gave, and that’s really tough and extremely impressive,” Griffin said. “They do a great job.”

In the category of departments with fewer than 25 employees, the School of Accounting pledged the most dollars at $29,015, and the Clarke Historical Library had the highest participation with 100 percent for the same category.

The College of Communication and Fine Arts was recognized as the most-improved participation rate.

The seven plaques given during the campaign luncheon are the only incentives for supporting the AUC campus-wide, though the CBA has its own personal incentive.

“We try to make it a fun participation event, and we want (employees) to enjoy it,” Sommer said. “We send off little reminders and fun emails that try to engage and show a lighter side of giving, and we compete for the Howard Cup.”

Sommer said the Howard Cup was created as an extra incentive and is awarded to the department with the highest percentage of contributions. The trophy is filled with candy and awarded annually.

This year, the Marketing and Hospitalities Administration received the award.

Sommer said the campus-wide campaign awards are something to take pride in but are also important factors when it comes to communicating with external donors and alumni.

“We hang those plaques in the office here at the College of Business, and it means a lot to us,” she said. “We seek alumni support, and we can say, not only are we asking for your support, but we want you to join us, because we support it too within the college. I think that says a lot to our alumni, donors and friends.”