Wright State University

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wright-state-universityEngagement Highlights

  • Increased the number major gifts closed by 51% from 98 in FY 13 to record of 148 in FY 15
  • Raised the average major gift size by 25%, increased the number of solicitations by 33%, and improved the solicitation close rate by 19%
  • Dramatic improvement in Discovery meeting quality and efficiency

Challenges

Gearing up for the University’s first comprehensive campaign, Wright State’s Development leadership recognized that in order to increase fundraising yields they needed to evolve the University’s fundraising culture.

Wright State University engaged Plus Delta to accelerate their fundraising efforts as they headed into a comprehensive campaign.   They had a relatively young fundraising organization both in terms of the maturity the operation and the relative experience of their gift officers. A culture of philanthropy had also not been developed with external constituents, many of whom were disengaged from the institution. Wright State needed to build a sustainable infrastructure and re-set donors’ expectations. The Plus Delta partnership represented an opportunity to simultaneously build the skills and sharpen the focus of the fundraising team while also developing a more proactive and transparent approach to qualifying and cultivating prospects.

Results

Between the start of the partnership in FY 13 and FY 15, the Wright State fundraising team made significant gains across multiple key fundraising metrics. In FY 15, a record fundraising year, the number of major gifts closed increased by 51% over FY 13, solicitations increased by 33%, solicitation close rates improved by 19%, and the average major gift size increased by 25%. Key to these fundraising gains was a more disciplined and transparent approach to Discovery meetings. The fundraising team achieved all these gains while only increasing the number of prospect meetings by 1%. Rather than simply emphasizing increased activity in the form of a higher quantity of meetings, the team chose to focus on productivity by engaging and qualifying legitimate major gift prospects.

“Plus Delta’s training sharpened how the fundraising team thought about and executed the qualification and cultivation process and how they used their time to move donors productively through the cycle. As opposed to getting someone into a qualified stage, and then spending the next year and half to figuring out whether they were a legitimate major gift prospect or not, the team is now qualifying in a disciplined way, spending less time cultivating suspects, and getting to quality gift discussions with legitimate major gift prospects more quickly.”

Rebecca Cole, VP for Development