President's Corner is a regular column from President Deep Saini.
Dear Dal Community,
You may have heard that at some point during the lifespan of our new strategic plan, Third Century Promise, we intend to launch a comprehensive fundraising campaign at Dalhousie, as both an important part of and a key complement to the strategic plan.
Launching a comprehensive campaign is distinct from the university’s matter-of-course fundraising. Campaigns are complex and carefully planned projects, executed in a highly coordinated manner over an extended period. They achieve outcomes that go far beyond simply generating financial resources for the university.
While fundraising is the central and most easily measurable objective, a well-planned campaign requires an institution to clarify, define and hone-in on key priorities within its core missions of teaching, learning, research, scholarship and service. This exercise of priority-setting and building the case for supporting these key priorities is, in itself, a major opportunity for us to critically reflect on where our greatest strengths lie and how we can build on them even further. It also demands that we identify, with precision, the areas that hold the greatest promise and opportunities for our collective achievement. This exercise serves as a call to action and expedites conversations that ultimately produce a roadmap to engage stakeholders and attract resources – through philanthropy and other partnerships – and help the university achieve its ambitions sooner.
Universities demonstrably raise more money during a campaign than they do prior to one, and these new levels of commitment are often sustained or exceeded during the post-campaign period. A campaign builds mutually reinforcing relationships among excellence, impact and support.
A campaign also provides an institution with a chance to showcase its strengths and build on its reputation, especially in the areas of research and scholarship. It creates an opportunity to galvanize alumni, supporters and volunteers by providing tangible channels through which they can help advance the institution’s mission.
As we emerge from the pandemic and return to campus and in-person teaching and learning, such a campaign will serve as one avenue to re-energize the Dalhousie community and unite us around common goals. Beyond the focus on specific priority projects, a campaign has the capacity to lift the entire institution, with benefits flowing to everyone – students, faculty, staff – regardless of the specific priorities. Funds raised to support one area of activity at the university often free up existing resources to support others.
As our preparations towards the launch of a campaign progress, I look forward to sharing more details and then rolling up our collective sleeves to accelerate Dalhousie’s momentum.