A&T plans drive – Annual fund grows

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — N.C. A&T State University is gearing up for a big fundraising drive.

The historically black University of North Carolina campus has boosted its annual fundraising and joined other UNC System schools working to strengthen their development operations.

“We’re preparing for a major capital campaign,” says David Hoard, who joined A&T a year ago as vice president for development and university relations after heading the development office at N.C. Central University in Durham.

In the fiscal year ended June 30, A&T raised $10.3 million, including annual giving that grew to $1.5 million from $480,000 a year earlier.

This fiscal year, Hoard expects to raise more than $15 million. 

To help prepare for the campaign – still being planned and with no goal set — A&T is taking part in two UNC System initiatives.

One effort, funded with $2 million approved by state lawmakers in 1999, aims to boost the fundraising operations of UNC’s five historically black universities – also including NCCU, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University and Winston-Salem State University — plus UNC-Pembroke and Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.

In that effort, A&T has worked with Barnes & Roche in Philadelphia, one of two consulting firms retained by the UNC System to work with the seven schools.

After assessing A&T’s development office, Barnes & Roche recommended improvements ranging from more staff and technology to stronger communications and alumni relations.

As a result, for example, A&T in June installed an automated fundraising phone-bank. And in November, it launched a new Web service to better connect alumni with the school and one another.

In 2001, that Web service will be expanded to let alumni make online pledges and donations.

A&T’s Web initiative will be studied by other schools in the 16-campus UNC System, particularly the other 10 smaller campuses.

All 11 smaller campuses, including A&T, are the focus of a separate UNC System initiative that is investing nearly $2 million over two years to improve technology use by faculty, students and alumni.

The new A&T Web service features a directory that alumni can use to post information about themselves, and to find other alumni. They can, for example, indicate their interest in particular programs at A&T – information the school then can use to target fundraising appeals.

The school now spends $120,000 a year to distribute five direct-mail appeals, which Hoard says would be supplemented with email appeals to alumni.

One challenge will be building the school’s database of only 6,000 email addresses to include more of its 33,000 alumni.

Hoard says a big reason for his optimism about the new capital campaign is the school’s success at raising corporate dollars, which account for 80 percent of annual fundraising – compared to 80 percent typically raised by other schools from individuals.

“We have high hopes with continued corporate support and enhanced individual giving,” he says.

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