Fundraising bucks national trends

Annual giving increased 9 percent in 2011, with annual donations to the University topping $5.3 million as of June 6.

Annual giving – all directly-solicited gifts of up to $25,000 – represents 5.7 percent of the $92 million raised by GW so far this year. Complete fundraising totals will not be calculated until after the end of the fiscal year, June 30.

Last year, giving reached $4.8 million, up 14 percent from 2008.

Although annual giving rose, overall fundraising remains comparable to last fiscal year, when GW took in $93.82 million.

“Fiscal year 11 will go down as a record year in a multitude of categories,” Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Michael Morsberger said.

Fundraising by colleges and universities increased only 0.5 percent nationally in the 2009-2010 academic year, according to a report by the Chronicle of Higher Education. GW itself recorded an 11.9 percent boost in fundraising from 2009 to 2010, growing in giving from $84 million to $94 million.

The report found that 13 of the country’s top 20 fundraising universities recorded donation reductions in 2010, a year during which GW reported a record $10 million increase.

Despite its relative success during the recession, GW was in the lowest third of fundraisers among research institutes of its size in 2010, according to data from the Chronicle.

Patricia Danver, a spokeswoman for the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, estimated that 21,000 donors contributed to the University this year, the most in a single year since 2001.

Alumni, who contributed over $25 million, are the largest pool of donors, followed by parents and friends, Danver said in an e-mail.

Several large-ticket donations contributed to the $92 million raised this year. The A. James Clark Engineering Scholars program was established after a local businessman of the same name donated $8 million to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Danver highlighted University research and the GW Power and Promise Fund – directed toward student financial aid – as popular among donors who specify. She emphasized that maximizing fundraising is an effort.

Morsberger said, as GW earns more prestige, donors are more likely to contribute.

“Donors see philanthropy as an investment in the future, and ours is bright,” he said.

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