Annual Giving Programs

To preserve University Name’s credibility among its financial supporters as well as to optimize resources, this policy will serve to govern all annual solicitations made on behalf of University Name and/or groups affiliated with University Name. Below is a description of this policy.

Annual Gift Solicitation Clearance Policy

• An annual gift solicitation is defined as a request for a gift(s) under $10,000 generated through a direct mail mass appeal, a telephone mass appeal or an e-mail mass appeal on behalf of annual or special projects.

• All direct and indirect annual gift solicitation efforts targeting University Name alumni, parents, friends or other University Name affiliated entities should be submitted for approval/disproval & coordinated (if approved) through the Office of Annual Giving. This includes direct and indirect mass appeals for donations and donation considerations made via telephone, e-mail, letters, newsletters, brochures, gift cards or any other direct mail instrument.

• All requests to execute annual gift solicitation efforts should be presented to the Office of Annual Giving in writing, using a standard “Request for Annual Gift Solicitation Clearance” form obtained through the Office of Annual Giving.

• All annual gift solicitations that are cleared by the Office of Annual Giving will be tracked according to a unique solicitation code assigned by the Office of Annual Giving.

• All funds generated through approved annual gift solicitations should be returned by the donor directly to:

University Name
Office of University Advancement
Street
City, State Zip

• All requests made to the Alumni Association or other technical personnel for labels, mailing lists, data files containing names, addresses and/or email addresses of University Name alumni, parents, friends or other University Name entities for the purposes of direct or indirect solicitation, will not be honored unless the requestor has previously received clearance for the direct or indirect appeal from the Office of Annual Giving.

• Annual gift solicitations done through the use of “stand-alone” databases are also covered by this policy.

• Guiding principles in the determination/approval of appropriate annual gift solicitations are attached.

Annual Gift Solicitation Approval Principles

Two of the many goals of Annual Giving Programs are to avoid the communication of inconsistent uncoordinated messages and to avoid inundating constituency groups with excessive appeals on an annual basis. These goals are achieved through extensive planning and communication. Annual appeals are limited to two appeals per year whenever possible. This is accomplished through the providing of two windows of opportunity to solicit annual funds.

1) The First Annual Solicitation Window. October – March. Appeals on behalf of the colleges.

2) The Second Annual Solicitation Window. April – September. Appeals on behalf of unrestricted funding priorities.

Specific departmental/organizational appeal requests will be accessed on a case-by-case basis using primarily the two factors below in determining the appropriateness of a solicitation appeal.

1) Timing of the Appeal. Does the timeframe of the appeal fit within the proper window? Given proper planning, Annual Giving can segment out affected populations so that only
one appeal is sent to the prospect within a solicitation window. Some examples:

a. If a college department wishes to solicit an annual gift during the first window (College Annual Fund), the likelihood is increased.

b. If a college department wishes to solicit an annual gift during the second window (General Annual Fund), the likelihood is diminished.

c. If an organization wishes to solicit an annual gift during the first window (College Annual Fund), the likelihood is greatly diminished.

d. If an organization wishes to solicit an annual gift during the second window (VT Annual Fund), the likelihood is increased.

2) Appeal’s Relevance to University and/or College Goals and Priorities. Does the appeal compete with the priorities of the university and/or college? Some issues to take into account:

a. Recognizing that a college department appeal will redirect gifts from the college’s unrestricted account, has the Dean approved the appeal?

b. Does the organization’s funding designation take precedence over unrestricted funding priorities as determined by the President?

c. What extenuating circumstances might warrant approval of the annual gift solicitation?

Contributed by Mike Westfall.