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Fundraising Efforts Recognized For 'Overall Improvement'

May 27, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Sam Houston State University’s fundraising efforts have earned the university a 2014 Educational Fundraising Award by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

SHSU was selected to receive an “Overall Improvement Award” in the “public comprehensive institution” category.

SHSU tmCASE’s Educational Fundraising Awards honors superior fundraising programs at CASE-member educational institutions across the country, according to Brian Flahaven, director for CASE’s legislative, foundation and recognition programs. This is an annual program in which awards are given for “overall performance” and “overall improvement” in fundraising based on data submitted to the Council for Aid to Education's Voluntary Support of Education survey. Institutions are grouped and judged in categories roughly based on the Carnegie Classification.

Judges are selected from the ranks of senior development professionals and CASE volunteers and represent a wide array of experience. When reviewing data profiles, the judging panel does not know the name of the institution tied to the data, according to Flahaven.

Judges selected winners based on a multitude of factors: the pattern of growth in total support, or adjusted total support, if appropriate; evaluation of what contributed to the total support figure; overall breadth in program areas; pattern of growth in each program area; pattern of donor growth among alumni donors and other individual donors; impact of the 12 largest gifts on total support; total support in relation to the alumni base; and the type of institution.

Of the 1,010 higher education institutions participating in the survey, 450 were considered for judging and 79 received awards. Some of the institutions who have been recognized for sustainable exemplary fundraising programs include Baylor College of Medicine, Harvard University, Stanford University, Villanova University and University of California, Berkeley.

“I am overwhelmed by our staff’s collective accomplishment in achieving national recognition for charitable giving,” said Vice President for University Advancement Frank Holmes. “This award is not a popularity contest; it is based solely on the numbers.”

Fundraising efforts are a critical part of a university’s mission, according to Holmes. Donations support student scholarships, faculty and staff endowments, academic program endowments, construction projects, and program enhancement.

Approximately 11 years ago, SHSU had a donor giving rate of less than 1 percent; today, that rate is 11 percent.

“It took years of consistent work and focus to reconnect, build relationships, and gain the confidence and understanding necessary to create a culture of philanthropy,” Holmes said.

“Obviously, the Development team is dedicated every day to raising money,” he said. “It should not be overlooked that their efforts are supported by advancement-wide programs that maintain accurate alumni and donor data; provide opportunities for involvement and engagement on and off the campus by our alumni and friends; produce strong public relations, outstanding publications and effective electronic media to enhance the image of the university and tells its story; and a sincerely caring staff that places customer service right at the top of everything done.

“And, our efforts are augmented by an administration and faculty that appreciate our efforts and are willing to help whenever asked.”

“With the steep decline in state funding as a percentage of the university’s overall budget, fundraising and alumni engagement are mission critical to the ongoing success of the university and our students,” said Dana Gibson, SHSU president. “This award is significant and shows how a strong advancement program and an engaged base of alumni and friends can make a difference. Frank’s leadership and vision along with a top team of development, alumni relations, and marketing and communications professionals have earned this recognition.”

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas. It is one of the world's largest nonprofit educational associations in terms of institutional membership, with more than 3,600 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 82 countries. CASE serves nearly 74,000 advancement professionals on the staffs of member institutions.

For more information, call the Office of University Advancement at 936.294.3625.



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