Record fundraising beats goal

The University raised a record-breaking $113.5 million in the 2011 fiscal year – a 21-percent increase from the previous year.

The boost was a result of increased alumni programming and outreach to students, staff, alumni, parents, administrators and hospital patients, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Michael Morsberger said.

“Our goal over this decade of transformation is to grow philanthropy,” he said, echoing University President Steven Knapp’s goal to raise the University’s profile in the 10 years preceding its bicentennial.

Morsberger attributed the increased giving to the rising selectivity and prestige of the University.

“When people give, they are expressing their excitement about GW,” he said. “The value of a GW degree has increased, and alumni want to be part of that growth.”

Fundraising has been increasing steadily since Morsberger’s arrival to GW. In the fiscal year 2009, the University raised $84 million, a $26 million increase from 2008 and then the largest amount in University history.

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.

The University has been working on a number of large fundraising projects over four years, including a continuation of its plan to quadruple donations for financial aid, raise funds for a Science and Engineering Hall with a price tag in the hundreds of millions and solicit donations for innovative learning objectives.

For the first time in institution history, all deans, vice presidents and Board of Trustee members contributed, Morsberger said. The Senior Class Gift campaign also saw record participation last year, with more than 40 percent of the Class of 2011 contributing to a total pot of about $90,000.

Alumni outreach, including the formation of more University groups abroad, return visits to campus and GW’s increased online presence contributed as well, he said, emphasizing the importance of relationship-building and early outreach to young alumni.

Morsberger hopes that establishing a relationship with these new alumni will lead to more donations later in their lives.

“They get in the habit of giving,” he said.

More than 11,000 alumni participated in about 300 alumni events globally last year, according to the Office of Development and Alumni Relations.

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