CMU sets all-time record for fundraising in a fiscal year


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Annual fundraising efforts are helping to carry the load as financial issues continue to be a concern for Central Michigan University officials.

University fundraising in 2012-13 totaled more than $14.5 million, breaking the 2008-09 record of more than $13.4 million.

Kathleen Wilbur, vice president of development and external relations, said a variety of fundraising categories and techniques contributed to the increase, including personal solicitations and planned giving.

“CMU started really fundraising around the year 2000, so we’re in a very different time and space then a lot of institutions," Wilbur said. "Other schools have been at it for a very long time, but we’re getting there and we’re pleased with that.”

Fundraising leadership within the different colleges at CMU has been an important piece to the increase.

Each college was assigned a staff of development officers, Wilbur said.

“We learned some things about how we could better ourselves in approaching people and if there was another group of people that we should be going after," Wilbur said.

One area she included was the annual university campaign.

The approach and increased focus on this particular campaign had a record 1,063 donors give to the university, generating the second-best year in terms of monetary contributions at more than $1.04 million.

The office of alumni relations played an important part in breaking the fundraising record this past year, although it was not responsible for the actual monetary contributions.

Marcie Otteman, executive director of alumni relations, said while her office is closely tied with annual giving, their goal and job complements university giving.

“We want to engage alums in whatever way they deem works for them,” Otteman said. “That’s really the goal of the alumni relations office, to keep a life-long engagement and relationship with our alumni.”

Bringing alumni to campus and showing them what is going on at CMU is an important part of what the alumni office does. This effort has been an important factor in the donation numbers.

Wilbur was pleased with the fundraising success experienced last year and is very hopeful CMU can set a new fundraising record for 2014-15.

“The quarter we just finished, we raised more money than we had last year at the same time,” Wilbur said, “We have raised about $2.3 million more than we had in the year prior, in that particular quarter. That does not mean it will end up better, but it is certainly a good signal.”


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