Increased effectiveness goal of development reorganization
By Ruth Stevens
Princeton NJ -- Princeton's Office of Development has been reorganized to maximize its ability to provide financial support for the University.
Brian McDonald, vice president for development since February, is restructuring the office and organizing teams around four key "business areas": individual and institutional giving; development relations; development information services; and development planning and administration. Three long-time staff members have been elevated to lead the new organization, which was effective Oct. 1.
McDonald emphasized that the 120-member development staff enters this reorganization from a "position of strength." From 1996 to 2000, it was instrumental in the University raising $1.14 billion in the Anniversary Campaign, the most successful fund-raising effort in Princeton's history. More than 50,000 alumni, parents and friends of the University contributed -- including an unprecedented 78 percent of undergraduate alumni.
McDonald, a member of the class of 1983, served in several key volunteer fund-raising roles before joining the staff, including chairing the Challenge 2000 Committee that encouraged participation in the Anniversary Campaign by members of the youngest alumni classes. While the campaign has concluded, he said, the University's needs continue to grow.
"Our biggest challenge is a table of needs that is at least equal to the amount of money we raised during the campaign," he said. "Our planning, our focus, our volunteer structure and our budget are below campaign levels. We need to address each of these areas if we are to meet the goals the University has set for us."
Investing in development
McDonald presented an initial analysis of the development office to President Tilghman, the trustees and top-level administrators in the spring. "It was evident to me," he said, "that the University needed to invest in development, and that we needed to restructure the Office of Development to serve our volunteers and donors even more effectively."
To identify the specific areas for investment and reorganization, McDonald instituted a strategic planning process that lasted from mid-June through early September. Teams of staff members conducted comprehensive self-assessments and analyzed historic data and costs of operations. He said there was "near-perfect participation" by staff members in the self-assessment sessions. At the end, the staff had identified more than 200 opportunities to improve, enhance or expand development's efforts.
"We encouraged people to think across their functional areas," McDonald said. "This enabled us to take advantage of our number one asset -- the intellectual capital of our staff."
From efficiency to effectiveness
Data analysis and cost of operations analysis also pointed to areas where Princeton can do a better job, including reducing attrition among donors and shifting the focus from efficiency to effectiveness. "We are extremely efficient," he said. "We want to be much more effective in select, strategic ways."
McDonald said that the strategic planning process confirmed that the development office is a "high-performing organization," but that a reorganized staff and additional resources would provide opportunities to increase funds raised for the University.
One of the development office's key goals for the next year is expanding its cultivation and stewardship efforts, fostering closer ties with Princeton's donors and volunteers. Other goals are to develop Internet and knowledge management technology, implement staff training and development, and carry on further strategic planning efforts -- all while continuing to raise funds for the University in an increasingly competitive environment.
"Our most important job in the Office of Development is to find the perfect match between a donor's philanthropic goals and the University's needs," McDonald said. "We want to make every donor -- large and small -- an investor in this great enterprise. By doing so, we will enable Princeton to continue to lead higher education in such important areas as financial aid, in research initiatives such as genomics and in the quality of the education the University provides.
"Our ability to make the case for Princeton is definitely more challenging now than it has been in the past," he continued. "However, the University has a very compelling story to tell and we are fortunate to have excellent leadership, an incredibly loyal and active alumni body and an enthusiastic volunteer corps. The development office in its new structure stands ready to continue to support the tradition of giving back to Princeton."
*Princeton raised over $220 million last year in new gifts and commitments, $70 million of which was contributed to the University's operating budget. Nearly $41 million was for new construction and renovation projects on campus, and the remainder was contributed to the University's endowment. The endowment, which is an aggregation of thousands of gifts contributed to the University over more than 200 years, provided approximately 40 percent of Princeton's operating income in 2001-02.
Three staff members in the development office have been promoted to lead teams as part of the recent reorganization.
Brian McDonald, vice president for development, also will serve as director of individual and institutional giving for the near future. He eventually plans to conduct a search for someone to lead this area, which includes annual giving, leadership gifts, principal gifts, planned giving and corporate and foundation relations.
The rest of the leadership team is:
Kirk Unruh, who will be director of development relations, working with communications, stewardship and events.
A 1970 Princeton graduate, Unruh joined the University staff in 1976 as regional director of admission. He moved to the development office in 1980 and served as associate director of leadership gifts before becoming director of development relations. He also has served in many volunteer capacities with the University, including as class secretary.
Julie Shadle, who will be director of development information services, overseeing development information systems, research, gift records and alumni records.
Shadle joined the development staff as user services liaison in development information systems in 1982; she was promoted to assistant director in 1984 and director in 1988. She has participated in three alumni relations/fund-raising database implementations.
Marsha Gilman, director of development planning and administration.
Gilman began working on the development staff in 1991 after serving as a corporate and securities lawyer in Washington, D.C. During the Anniversary Campaign, she had responsibility for leadership gift fund raising primarily in California but has also worked with alumni in the Midwest and Great Plains.
"Kirk, Julie and Marsha together represent 57 years of experience at Princeton," McDonald said. "Each is an outstanding leader who shares a common passion for making our Office of Development as effective as possible. I very much look forward to working with them in the years to come."
Editor: Ruth Stevens