Michigan State University

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loyalmtEngagement Highlights

  • Contributed to a 37% growth rate in year-to-year fundraising between FY 12 and FY 14.
  • Created a toolkit for more deliberative and efficient prospect qualification.
  • Accelerated the trend toward more strategic prospect management.



The Michigan State fundraising team was in need of a more deliberate process for qualifying donors and understanding the right steps to move the donor engagement process forward.

Michigan State University engaged Plus Delta at a time when they were working to accelerate their fundraising discipline as they headed into a comprehensive campaign.   The fundraising, prospect development, and systems teams had begun to re-work a number of key processes around prospect management. This included significant reviews of current portfolios to remove and/or re-classify prospects, regular scheduling of portfolio reviews, a more explicit definition and understanding of each prospect engagement stage, alignment of proposal stage and status, and revised reporting on prospect portfolios.

Plus Delta was engaged to work with the fundraising team – managers in particular – to support a shift in thinking toward greater intentionality, and more proactive and efficient prospect management.



Between FY 12 and FY 14, the Michigan State fundraising team, including central and unit-based gift officers, raised its annual fundraising total by 37%, from $174.5 million in FY 12 to $239 million in FY 14. The improvement in fundraising outcomes was the result of a series of related changes to fundraising process, and an enhanced focus on execution, systems, and skill building. Plus Delta’s skill building programs contributed to the increased fundraising success by helping gift officers to focus on the right prospects and by creating a toolkit that helped them to think critically and act more intentionally while moving prospects forward through a defined donor engagement process. The Plus Delta programs contributed to more transparent and direct donor interactions that gave the front-line managers and gift officers a forum to practice and experiment with different approaches as well as deepen their skills while significantly increasing average gift sizes. In fact, between FY12 and FY 14, the number of 6-figure gifts grew by 63%, from 150 to 245, while the number of 7-figure gifts grew by 50%, from 32 to 48. With an aggregate 6- and 7-figure gift value of $101.3m in FY12, the increased number of 6- and 7-figure gifts in FY14 resulted in a dramatic increase to $164.6m.

“Plus Delta’s training sharpened how MSU’s fundraising team thought about the cultivation and solicitation process as well as how our fundraisers used their time to move donors productively through the cycle. Thanks to the tools and techniques provided by Plus Delta, we are now spending a fraction of the time on qualification by taking a much more proactive, focused and intentional approach to the process.”

Bob Groves, – VP for University Advancement