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Comments re: Advancement Retreat

Many of us attended an all-day program a few weeks back sponsored by University Advancement.  It was a great chance to “network” with peers from a variety of offices and a good chance to begin setting the stage for an NC State capital campaign in the future.

Like it or not, fund raising at public universities is every bit as important as fund raising at the privates.  Government support is falling and we need outside funding to accomplish our mission.  Be that as it may, comments from the group were far ranging. If you have additional comments after reading this, please post them to the Blog.  We will be having more group meetings and we want to do everything possible to make them worthwhile.

Below you’ll find a sampling of comments ranging from good to bad.  I screened all the ugly.  I should note, these are not all the responses because there were just too many.  Now, my favorites:

  • Joe Hice’s afternoon presentation was great. Very informative and inspirational:-)
  • In planning the next quarterly meeting it might be helpful to include more college‐based staff in setting the topics for discussion.
  • I would like to hear from the new chancellor about what he wants and expects. (Rest assured, that will happen before any new campaign begins.)
  • It would be helpful to know what the central unit’s plans/budget etc. are for going forward—what do we have to work with? Also, I think if there were any questions that emerged with frequency from the breakout sessions, they would be good to explore in depth. For example, there were lots of questions in the Advancement Services session I attended about data collection and pulling lists etc. I know there are always questions about blogging/new media strategies etc.
  • Role of branding across all divisions and using Communications to their best advantage.
  • Randy Woodson addressing the group. We need to hear his vision for NC State in general and Advancement at NC State in particular.
  • I’d like to understand how the advancement and marketing goals will work together. Perhaps by then we will have plans based on State Comm work in committees as well as a more specific timeline for the campaign.
  • How can all the different departments/divisions work more closely together, especially with the new campaign launch?
  • Explain why everything is about “the next campaign.” How do you manage “the next campaign” while serving people, which is the stated mission of this university and the unit I work in? How does the “next campaign” fit into that and how can I feel good about my job and role here when there will be such a focus on raising money? How do you manage the “next campaign” and the “taking” of money while also “giving” something back in return to alumni, students, faculty/staff and North Carolina? So, looking for more explicit explanations from above of the expected role of the units and how it fits in with current assumed roles.
  • I would like to hear more about specific marketing targets we can help hit, more about marketing research to improve our returns, and I would like for the accounting issues be addressed to make sure we are actually hitting our fund raising goals and not giving ourselves too much credit. It would be great to hear that we are being consistent and conservative throughout Advancement in the way credit our donations.
  • Information about how the organizational structure will change (or grow) in anticipation of the next campaign. More information on expectations and goals for various units.
  • Answering/addressing the issue of “Is NC State a centralized university or a collective of 12 semiautocratic colleges and other units?”
  • This is a large group with diverse backgrounds, charges and goals. Might be interesting to see what 3 or 4 different groups might determine are the 3 or 4 areas we need to focus on. Or tackle one issue. For example, what role do we feel the Alumni Association should play—what is already in place, what can be expanded, what can be removed and what can be added? How can their programs be enhanced with commitments from development, advancement services, creative services, the colleges and their own team? For many, our decentralization continues to be an issue—how do we tackle this? What are the real or perceived barriers to a centralized Annual Giving program, and how do we overcome them?

Additionally you can read the survey results for the 2010 University Advancement Retreat.

Passion Rules!

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