Donor relations

In light of yesterday’s complaints about the tediousness of old school practices, I want to shift gears slightly with a more tangible recommendation for university donor relations.

I’ve never been a major donor to Penn State or any other organization, but I’ve conceived and managed many campaigns for significant gifts and endowed funds. Speaking of Penn State in particular, one of the things that surprises me is that there seems to be no processes for them to stay in touch with volunteers like me who clearly have enthusiasm and the ability to follow through on significant development efforts.

I get that it’s impossible for a $4+ billion organization like Penn State to maintain relationships with any and every volunteer. Yet I’d imagine that assigning one development staffer to maintain a database of the few thousand enthusiastic volunteers like me wouldn’t be impossible. A simple quarterly or even twice annual note keeping us in the loop with case studies in successful volunteer efforts, or a behind the scenes look at fundraising techniques (or whatever) could keep us engaged beyond the specific development projects we started with.

What I’m saying is this: it’s surprising to me that Penn State isn’t maintaining relationships with those who go a step beyond simply donating by organizing other volunteers. There’s momentum among that crowd that could be encouraged and grown.