UT Foundation Raises $1.3B, Hires More Fundraisers

The University of Tennessee Foundation has hired five new fundraising employees and expects to hire seven more by the end of October, reports Megan Boehnke. The move is part of a five-year push to increase donations by increasing the number of people asking for them.
At the same time, the foundation is wrapping up its seven-year fundraising campaign and is expecting to reach $1.3 billion in gifts by the Dec. 31 close date.
“When we started this campaign, we didn’t know we were going to have the recession, and the common wisdom when we were moving into this recession was (for) so many schools in adjacent states that had a billion-dollar campaign, they completely pulled out of it because they thought, ‘There’s no way we can accomplish this,'” said Andrea Loughry, chair of the UT Foundation board, following a meeting Thursday in the Haslam Business Building.
“So to accomplish that in this economy is a huge pat on a back for our professional staff but also a huge compliment to the alumni and friends of the University of Tennessee and the fact that they keep on giving in spite of the economy we’ve been in.”
As the foundation — the system’s fundraising arm — wraps up its first $1 billion campaign, it also is reorganizing. The Legislature in the spring approved a new “interdependent” structure for the foundation that allows it to manage its own payroll and ultimately hire 60 new employees over five years in hopes of doubling annual giving by 2020.
Of the five new employees, the university hired three fundraising officers who will work in regional cities with large alumni bases: Nashville, Charlotte, N.C., and Houston, said Scott Rabenold, acting vice president for development and alumni affairs.
“The No. 1 reason people don’t give is because they aren’t asked,” Rabenold said. “We have very passionate alumni and very successful alumni, so the biggest obstacle to our successful fundraising is getting out and talking to them. The more boots we can put on the ground, the greater impact we can have for students and faculty.”

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