CASE honors LU with national fundraising award

Carolyn Schultz

Recently, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) honored Lawrence with a 2008 Circle of Excellence award for Educational Fundraising. This prestigious award, in the category of Overall Improvement, was based on diverse criteria, including quality of fundraising programs, creativity, use of resources and the impact the university has on its internal and external communities. The award incorporates input and satisfaction ratings from alumni, parents, students, faculty and staff of the university.
Lawrence was one of only a handful of schools chosen from a pool of more than 3,500 entries from 766 institutions to receive the “Overall Improvement” award. According to Cal Husmann, Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations, “this award comes during a major capital campaign for the university.” Lawrence has raised over 101 million dollars during the last three years. The national recognition may help to bolster and support the university as it enters the “Light More Light” fundraising campaign, beginning later this fall.
The CASE award was based on Lawrence’s improvement between fiscal years 2005 and 2007. In 2005, the university raised $7,474,000 in gifts and increased the amount to $21,345,000 in 2007. During the survey years, 49 percent of all donations were from alumni. Lawrence has consistently ranked among the nation’s best when it comes to alumni donations and involvement in the university. In 2007, the national average for alumni gifts was 26.8 percent, according to Target Analytics Index of Higher Education Fundraising Performance.
“Lawrence University is an excellent school,” said Husmann. “Students get first rate educational experiences.we have great academic and artistic programs.” People want to support Lawrence because of the education and wealth of opportunities it provides for its students, faculty and alumni. “The bulk of donations, 92 percent, comes from individuals, and the majority of those gifts are from alumni,” said Husmann. Husmann shares the views of former university president, Richard Warch, that, “if the alumni don’t support the university, why should anyone else?”
The CASE award does not take into account the university’s most recent victory, a record breaking $31.4 million raised during the 2007-2008 fiscal year. This record-setting amount is the largest in Lawrence’s history and is a 47 percent improvement over the previous year’s totals. According to Husmann, the victory is due to long-standing development of fundraising efforts and significant gifts and bequests from alumni and other individuals committed to Lawrence.
To continue this significant fundraising achievement and excellence, Husmann and his colleagues are focusing on the long term. Their first priority is to educate students about philanthropy and to develop an influential relationship between the university and those whose lives it touches.
Second, the university wants to develop meaningful relationships with alumni and constituents to engage them in the current Lawrence community and connect with gift-giving individuals on a personal level.
Third, they plan to showcase student work and achievements and show the rest of the Lawrence community what the university is about today. The key to fundraising excellence is to engage everyone touched by the university and to bridge the gap between today’s students and those of days gone by.