To engage stakeholders in meaningful interactions that foster pride, advocacy and private support for the University of Washington. Fulfilling our mission requires us to build genuine, trust-based relationships, both internally and externally. We accomplish this through a central-decentral model in which every person values one another and takes pride in advancing the UW — one of the leading public universities on Earth.
The cooperative relationships between UW’s central Advancement units and Advancement staff and their partners in the various campuses, schools, departments and programs, creates a philanthropic environment uniquely able to respond to opportunities and make progress toward goals.
Our stakeholders enjoy making a difference for the UW. We listen for and respect their passions. They find it deeply satisfying to contribute their time, talents and treasure to the UW because when they do, they know that they are creating futures — for our students, our community, and our world.
Do the Right Thing
Honesty; Integrity; Confidentiality
Respect for All
Trust; Teamwork; Transparency; Treat Each Other Well
Highest Standards of Excellence
Service Ethic; Personal Initiative; Accountability; Stewardship
The University’s Advancement program employs staff located throughout the UW’s schools, colleges, programs and units on three campuses, as well as in the central development office and the UW Alumni Association. The office is led by the vice president for University Advancement who reports directly to the University president. Reporting directly to the vice president are the Associate Vice Presidents for Advancement Services, Constituency Programs, Individual Giving Programs, and UW Medicine; the Executive Director of the UW Alumni Association; and the Director of Finance & Administration and Marketing.
The UW Foundation Board has 46 members, including University representatives and volunteer directors from among the University’s alumni, friends, parents, and staff. The Foundation Board is led by a chair and a president (the vice president for University Advancement, currently Connie Kravas). In addition to volunteering their own time and assets, Foundation Board directors strive to:
Secure private contributions to enhance core support received from the state;
Increase the level of private giving to the University both in terms of dollars raised and numbers of contributors; and
Enhance understanding among the UW’s alumni and friends of the need for private philanthropy to support excellence in programs throughout the University.
Additionally, volunteers are engaged at the unit level via advisory boards, visiting committees, and leadership committees determined to achieve unit development objectives. At present, some 17 to 20 leadership committees are actively advancing unit fundraising strategies. These committees, typically chaired by prominent business, community, civic, or professional leaders, represent the UW’s schools, colleges, programs, units, and three campuses.
The overarching goal of the University Advancement program is to create a fundraising program that institutionalizes advancement at the academic core, through integrated efforts at the central and unit levels. This “centralized-decentralized” approach allows the University Advancement team to successfully promote involvement and financial support from alumni and friends and to be valued throughout the institution, especially by school/college and program leadership where donor interests reside.
In this centralized-decentralized model, program units formulate objectives in respect to their own area needs, and strive to meet those objectives through both self-contained efforts and efforts integrated with those undertaken at the central level.
UW fundraisers are aligned primarily in the academic units, working directly with faculty, deans, volunteers, and alumni to engage donors and cultivate gifts that benefit the units and the entire University.
Working with academic leaders, Advancement staff collaborate to develop key strategies for cultivation, solicitation, and proposal development. A focus on the “top 25 potential donors” in each unit offers both deans and Advancement staff an opportunity to review cultivation strategies together regularly. Their efforts are supported and facilitated by central development through events, publications, recognition programs, annual giving solicitations, regional events and cultivation activities, and other continuing stewardship efforts. The UW Alumni Association also plays a vital role in keeping young alumni connected to the University after they graduate, and in keeping established and future prospects connected to the University, informed of its priorities and accomplishments, and engaged as potential contributors. The Regional Giving Program serves as an additional connection point by executing stewardship efforts—including special events and one-on-one visits—directed at alumni residing outside of Washington state.
Ingredients for Success
No one component of the Advancement program accounts for the UW’s fundraising success. Rather, its strength is derived from the integrated nature of its advancement model (the centralized-decentralized approach), the commitment of its volunteer base, and the direct involvement of academic leaders in the cultivation and stewardship of donors. The UW is fortunate to have a strong, dedicated base of volunteers, many of whom are noted leaders in business, technology, politics, and other prominent arenas. In addition to their participation on the UW Foundation Board, volunteers are engaged at the unit level to participate on advisory committees, development committees, visiting committees and other boards, and to cultivate additional gifts from leading prospects. At all levels, the collaboration and sharing of information across the spectrum—from fundraisers to volunteers to academic leadership to the UW’s top administrative officials—is critical to helping Advancement staff from interested units more effectively cultivate and steward their donors.
Model for Cultivation of Top Prospects
Advancement staff members employ a six-step model in developing strategies for principal and leadership gift prospects:
- Strategy Session: Advancement personnel from interested units meet to discuss a potential donor, sharing information and drafting a suggested plan for cultivation and solicitation. Potential donors may be identified by University Advancement’s Prospect and Research Tracking unit, direct mail response, conversations with volunteers or academic leadership, or other means.
- Strategy Review: Results of the strategy session are shared with the president, provost, vice president for University Advancement, UW Foundation chair, and participating unit Advancement staff members. Unit staff share outcomes with deans and unit colleagues. Recommendations are either accepted or enhanced and cultivation implementation begins.
- Cultivation Implementation: Cultivation activities are launched to deepen relationships in anticipation of an eventual gift request. Staff rely on deans and volunteers who have established relationships with prospects to act as “front-line” advocates and cultivators.
- Donor Feedback: Staff and volunteers may seek direct information from prospective donors regarding their areas of interest. They achieve this through “qualification” meetings or contacts where several ideas may be presented, either verbally or in writing, for the prospect’s direct comment.
- Proposal Development and Solicitation: Following donor feedback and the gathering of insights from others who know the prospect well, a written proposal is developed. Proposals are designed through a partnership between unit-based directors of Advancement and central Advancement staff. Unit-based Advancement staff members are in consultation with deans/academic heads about the cultivation strategy and the content of gift proposals.
- Stewardship and Continuing Engagement: Providing acknowledgement, recognition, and sustained contact and communication with donors after they make a gift is also a vital step that is accomplished at both the central and unit levels. Demonstrating sound fiduciary responsibility for the investment, expenditure and use of donations, and informing donors of how contributions are used and their impact on the University, community, and world is a final, critical step in inspiring future contributions.
Top Reason for Success: An Integrated Effort
The success of the University Advancement program can be attributed to the smooth functioning of a “well-oiled machine” that plans, strategizes, communicates, and cultivates through the collaborative efforts of academic leadership, volunteers, Advancement staff, and administrative leadership. In all of these components, communication is key to achieving success. Cultivation efforts seek to:
Build strong relationships with prospects at all levels;
Actively listen to prospects, sharing funding priorities with them and demonstrating how they might impact the institution through their gifts; and
Ensure that all interested parties understand funding priorities and that key donors are mobilized on the University’s behalf.
By institutionalizing advancement at the academic core, the University Advancement program ensures that the UW’s priority needs are addressed and investments secured that will build strong sources of dependable funding for the University’s future.