Annual Fund grows by $1.7 million; faculty participation increases

A cool $1.7 million. That is the magic number that Baldwin Wallace’s Annual Fund has grown to this year.

The Annual Fund is used to support a variety of organizations and programs around campus including student financial aid, social and cultural events, and staff and faculty development.  Each year fundraising efforts are driven by the Annual Giving department and each year they attempt to outdo the last.

Director of Annual Giving, Ann Miller, said donations are collected year-round and come from a variety of sources.

“We have a really good mix of activities that we do to gain donations,” said Miller.

The Big Give, direct mailers, a student-staffed phone center, and a faculty-staff campaign are some of the main efforts to earn donations for the Annual Fund.

According to Soledad Vasquez, assistant director of Annual Giving, and head of the faculty/staff campaign, one of the reasons the Annual Fund has grown significantly this year is that faculty/staff participation is up to 78% from the previous year’s 72%.

Miller said that alumni aren’t necessarily the only group of people that donate.

“It’s a common misconception that alumni are our main source of donations,” said Miller, “It certainly is a lot of alumni, but we receive donations from everyone, and the faculty/staff campaign is a large part of that.”

The faculty/staff campaign is a participation-based campaign, that includes any full-time or part-time current employee of Baldwin Wallace. The campaign runs through the month of April, and is typically kicked off by The Big Give, Baldwin Wallace’s annual day of giving.

Faculty and staff are only solicited for donations during this month, said Vasquez.

“We make sure that we are not bombarding our faculty and staff members any other time because they do so much already,” said Vasquez. “They are teaching classes and making our students feel special, as they should, and they do such a great job at that, so we limit our efforts to a month.

During this month, each department has “captains” that are in charge of pushing out the emails and working to get their departments to donate.”
Vasquez said that the captains’ role is significant to campaigning.

“What I do is a lot of making my captains feel very special during the academic year because they are my ambassadors, or liaisons, within their departments,” said Vasquez. “The campaign wouldn’t be as successful without them.”
Captains are given the freedom to reach out to their departments, however they would like some departments to turn the campaign into a competition to order to get 100% participation, said Vasquez.

The faculty/staff percentage is based solely the employee giving and not on how much a person has given, said Vazquez.
“I want them to know we appreciate them,” said Vasquez. “We understand that they are already giving so much. We try to communicate that during this campaign and let them know that every donation helps.”

When the metrics were first done on this campaign, the percentage of faculty/staff that were donating was at 24% and raised to 64% by the time Vasquez joined the team four years ago.

“I’m an open book when it comes to giving on campus.” said Vasquez. “People like to know where their money is going, and like knowing that they can designate it, even to their own department.”

Vasquez has been known to set up tables during the campaign just to answer any questions a faculty/staff member might have about their donation. This, along with the efforts of the captains, is why Vasquez believes that participation is increasing and will continue to increase.

“When I see these numbers, I’m amazed,” said Vasquez. “We work so hard and have come a long way from where things were a few years ago, and I’m hoping to just see that continue.”