By Brendan Sherwood
Due to the poor economy, increased freshman class sizes and increased financial aid need, colleges have been asking donors for more donations.
According to The New York Times, Richard J. Krasney, wealth manager and philanthropy adviser said, “Using such demand as a fund-raising tool totally makes sense in this environment. More than ever, people want to know that their money is being used to address current needs.”
The New York Times also reported that Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts has increased its financial aid budget for the coming school year by 7.5 percent. Chapman University in Orange, California has had a financial aid demand increase of 88 precent. The college exceeded its phone-a-thon goal for the year, but is still having trouble raising enough funds.
Marist College has also been increasing its campaigning for donations. Jeanine M. Thompson, director of annual giving at Marist College said, “We have increased our direct mail appeals by segmenting them more this Spring. We are cultivating our constituents at this time as well.”
Thompson said the Advancement Department holds full phone-a-thon campaigns for both Fall and Spring semesters. She said, “We have increased the number of personal one-on-one contacts this year when asking for Marist Fund support.”
The Marist Fund is a major part of the Capital Campaign, the college’s main fundraising program. Thompson said, “The Marist Fund is holding ground during the recession as many alums, parents and friends have been affected by the diminishing economy. For many, Marist is dear to their hearts, and the economy has not affected their will or ability to give at some level. The Marist Fund supports scholarships, academic programs and services, first class academic facilities, financial assistance, internship and study abroad opportunities and more.”
Thompson said the Capital Campaign is different because its priorities are to generate more endowed scholarships and increase financial aid. Both continue to be vital because they “bridge the gap between tuition income and the actual cost of a Marist education.”
It seems that Marist College is doing better financially than colleges like University of North Carolina, Greensboro, which according to The New York Times has $30 million in requests for aid outstanding. Its endowment is also down 25.6 percent, and Governor Perdue has proposed cutting state financing to the UNC system by 5 percent. The university’s annual fund has collected 6 percent less than it did last year.
In contrast, according to The New York Times, Hamilton College collected the same amount as last year, which its director of annual giving was pleased with. “The college based its pitch on a recent alumni survey in which almost 90 percent said they wanted their donations to support scholarships.”
At Marist College, alumni are a major part of the six-division Marist Fund, which Thompson said, also includes “parents, businesses and friends.” She said they have not seen any division fall flat, but they do occasionally decrease.
For those interested in giving to the college or learning more about how it raises funds, there are several events that the Advancement Department holds throughout the year. Thompson said these include the “Campus Campaign Luncheon,” “Hudson Valley Scholars Meet & Greet” and “Alumni Chapter Events.” “Not all our events are fund-raisers — more cultivation and stewardship events as well,” Thompson said.