The Dalhousie difference
By Julia Watt - February 7, 2011
First in a series
Fundraising plays a key role in Dalhousie’s ability to be bold and take advantage of opportunities as they come along. While fundraising is an ongoing priority for the university, from time to time a special campaign will be undertaken, resulting in considerably heightened fundraising efforts. This is what is happening right now at Dal and there are more than 50 priorities targeted for funding. The Dalhousie Difference series will introduce the concept of fundraising and showcase some of the 50 innovative and, in many cases, revolutionary projects that we are actively raising money for.
The power of philanthropy
External Relations VP Floyd Dykeman is steadfast in his belief that the difference between a good university and a great one is in part directly related to the robustness of its fundraising program. The generous gifts from alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends provide for unique academic programming, accomplished faculty members to deliver these programs, meaningful financial assistance, and opportunities for an enriched university experience — all characteristics of a great university.
“Dalhousie invests more than $40 million a year in bursaries, scholarships and student employment opportunities,” says Mr. Dykeman. “This isn’t supported by tuition and government subsidies alone—these are needed for our day-to-day operations. We rely on donations—large and small—to support our students and to develop the infrastructure they need to thrive.”
Currently in the “leadership” or “quiet” phase of a special campaign (this is when some of the largest gifts are secured), Dalhousie’s fundraising team is actively raising money for more than 50 new projects that span all faculties and include many student-focused initiatives. These are projects that when put into action will help transform the Dalhousie of today into the university of the future.
All gifts have an impact
People give for many different reasons—to honour a family member, to fulfill a passion, to alleviate the burden of others, or to underscore a belief that higher education can make a difference in their community because they, too, benefited from the experience. Some give millions, some give a few dollars, but all are important. Collectively smaller gifts, such as those typically received through our annual giving program, can become millions. This year, the Dalhousie Fund will bring in over $3 million, which is a major gift onto itself.
Creating an endowment, whereby the money is invested and only the income earned is spent, means that a single gift keeps giving year over year. Dal has the tenth largest endowment fund when compared to universities across Canada—and the largest one in Atlantic Canada.
“Gifts to the university have a tremendously positive impact. People tend to think that philanthropy only applies to people who give millions. That’s a misconception. The person who gives $100 is making a philanthropic gesture,” says Mr. Dykeman.
Dal’s fundraising programs
- Dalhousie Fund: Our annual giving program, which is based primarily on direct mail and student calls. Gifts typically range from $10-$24,000. This money is used to fund urgent operational needs with a direct impact on students.
- Major Gift Program: Over a period of months or even years, fundraising staff develop long-lasting relationships between Dalhousie and individual donors. Development officers guide individuals to support programs that inspire them. Typically, gifts received are $25,000 and higher.
- Planned Giving: For many, a charitable bequest is the best way to make a gift. Through a will or other estate planning, Dalhousie can be named as the beneficiary of a portion or a particular asset of an estate.