GW searches for new parent fundraising official

Updated: Oct. 26, 2015 at 10:29 a.m.

GW is looking for a new official to help bring in donations from parents.

Officials are hiring a new associate director of development for the parents campaign, an offshoot of the $1 billion fundraising campaign that specifically targets parents. The new associate director will be tasked with gathering donations worth between $25,000 and $1 million from parents.

The parents campaign philanthropy board is made up of 26 families who help bring in donations to the University. Experts and officials say the board is an important part of GW’s overall fundraising efforts because it connects GW to a group with a vested interest in the University: parents of current students.

The University posted the job online this month, according to the GW employment website. University spokesman Brett Zongker declined to say when the position opened or who was in the position before, citing a policy against releasing information about “personnel matters.”

Aristide Collins, the vice president for development and alumni relations, said the new associate director will work directly with the Office of Parent Services. He said the office wants a fundraiser who can connect with parents and figure out how to get them to write a check.

“The person who fills this role, like all development officers, will be focused on building relationships with parents, understanding their interests and identifying ways that they can engage with the University, whether through contributing time, talent or financial support,” he said.

Collins added that “career services, scholarships and athletics” are three areas that parents have supported in the past. Last fiscal year, parents donated $12 million, nearly double the previous fiscal year’s.

David Phillips, the chief executive officer of the fundraising firm Custom Development Solutions, said the University is right to focus specifically on parent donors because building connections now means they may be willing to supply bigger donations in the future.

“If you invest more money in nurturing deeper relationships with the parents and their family members, you’re going to get larger and larger gifts as you go,” Phillips said.

Dan Saftig, a founding fundraiser at Dan Saftig Consulting and the chief development officer of Arizona State University, said it’s important to get parents directly involved with fundraising because it “gives parents the opportunity to have an impact on the lives of others.”

Saftig said a common strategy for raising money from parents is to make them feel like they have the capacity to help more students than just their own.

“It’s pretty amazing that parents will contribute even more than what’s required, with paying tuition, and room and board and all the rest,” Saftig said. “That speaks well to the generosity of GW parents.”

This post was updated to reflect the following clarification:
The associate director of development for the parents campaign is not the leader of the campaign. That person will report to the director of the campaign.

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