How to recruit college presidents as donors
- Philanthropy experts say it is common for presidents to give 10% of their salary to a capital campaign, and up to $10,000 annually for fundraising support, but a majority of presidents who aren't independently wealthy sometimes have to be engaged by trustees or development officers.
- Like many donors, some presidents wait to be moved by a specific giving objective, or to be formally asked for support; but faculty members are more aggressive in financial support of institutions.
- Many leaders with independent wealth, like Hampton University President Bill Harvey, give in support of raising employee wages student scholarships.
Many new presidential hires commemorate their arrival to campus with a substantial gift, but annual giving becomes a matter of pressure from the expectation to lead a campus' culture of philanthropy. It can be easy for trustees, who know a president's salary, and development officers who want to promote internal support of a campaign, to assume a presidential gift without investigating their interests or personal philanthropic goals.
Trustees should consider dialog about presidential giving early in the selection process, and presidents should be proactive in analyzing academic or social strengths that can earn their support. While scholarships, endowed professorships and capital campaign giving may be common areas for financial support, establishing research institutes, forming investment groups, or giving to athletics can be uncommon giving areas that make a big difference.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education For the 'big ask,' some presidents look within