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Costly fundraising – Development office depletes gifts

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An audit of the Office of University Advancement at N.C. State has found that only one-third of Annual Fund contributions supports academics – and the rest is used to support fundraising efforts, the News & Observer in Raleigh reports.

Donors who believe their money is used to support scholarships, computer and laboratory upgrades and other important programs are misled about how their money is spent, the audit found.

“This is a precarious situation from a donor-stewardship perspective,” said the audit. “Alumni donors would certainly be dismayed to the small portion of each gift that directly benefits the school.”

Unless a donor requests otherwise, 25 percent of Annual Fund money pays for fundraising costs – including hiring student phone solicitors, managing a donor database, and sending direct mail solicitations. Another 44 percent goes directly to the Office of University Advancement, which oversees the Annual Fund and other fundraising.

The audit was conducted by Glenzebach Glier and Associates, who were hired by the school to analyze the advancement office and recommend improvements for next year’s fundraising campaign.

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