UM Board of Curators discusses additional revenue sources

Thursday, January 30, 2014 | 5:27 p.m. CST; updated 11:17 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 30, 2014

COLUMBIA — The University of Missouri System Board of Curators spent much of Thursday talking and hearing about alternative sources of revenue. Fundraising was first on the list.

"Fundraising is a team sport," UM System President Tim Wolfe said early in the board development session. "It’s an opportunity to connect to alumni and donors. It’s a necessary ingredient to fund the resources for the future."

In his opening remarks, board Chairman Don Downing said tuition can't be the only method used to make up for the long-term decline in state support for higher education.

Carol Cartwright of the Association of Governing Boards of universities and colleges, a former president of Bowling Green State University and Kent State University, led curators through a presentation about university fundraising and the board's role in it.

"Fundraising goals must be aligned with the institution’s priorities," Cartwright said.

Cartwright noted emerging trends in fundraising:

  • It is donor centered; that is, what do donors want to achieve?
  • Private funds are important, but equally important are mission, purpose and trusting relationships.
  • The new mindset is human, engaged and flexible.

She also cited social media and crowdsourcing as ways to engage young alumni and donors with UM System institutions.

Tom Hiles, MU vice chancellor for university advancement, updated the curators on MU’s progress in reaching out to donors.

Hiles said an outside consultant was hired to conduct a feasibility study last summer and meet with 80 of the school’s top donors. The study gathered feedback and data on how donors thought their money was being spent.

New to the curators' meeting was R. Bowen Loftin, who officially starts his job as MU chancellor on Monday. In an interview during a break in the meeting, Loftin said MU will be in the early stages of a new fundraising campaign.

"This is something I’ve been doing a long time, so I’m very familiar with it," Loftin said. "This particular campaign (at MU) is roughly in the same place as the one I walked away from (at Texas A&M University) in terms of its maturity right now."

Loftin said MU is looking at a diverse set of fundraising methods, "which includes philanthropy as well as capitalizing on the discoveries made at this institution. They’re all important ways to help broaden the base of funding that’s necessary to support this institution."

The curators' meeting continues on Friday at the Reynolds Alumni Center. Most of the meeting is open to the public.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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