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Giving Breaks Records, Again

When NC State supporters get fired up, they’re apt to show their enthusiasm in a big way. There’s no mistaking the white hot fire fueling the university’s fundraising efforts, which hit record-breaking levels for the third straight year.

The final tally of donor support for the 2012-13 fiscal year tells the story. Gifts and pledges totaled $198.2 million, topping the previous year by 78 percent. Cash in the door jumped 27 percent to $127.6 million. Fundraising for the endowment was off the charts, raising nearly $130 million. And the annual giving program surpassed 2011-12 by 7 percent, collecting nearly $2 million.

“The success of this year truly is a culmination of decades of work by many people,” says Nevin Kessler, vice chancellor for university advancement. “We’re so proud of our donors for their incredibly strong support in a time when economic growth is still very slow.”

Student testing water at a stream.
A number of big gifts, including a $7 million donation to the College of Natural Resources, helped NC State break fundraising records.

Donor support is critical as the university faces an expected 5 percent cut in state funding this year just as it begins to implement an ambitious strategic plan that calls for investments in faculty and infrastructure to improve student success, confront society’s grand challenges and drive economic development.

To keep the momentum going, Chancellor Randy Woodson has become a “road warrior,” Kessler says, leading a university-wide effort to connect with alumni and supporters. Over the past year the chancellor and his wife Susan have attended more than three dozen alumni events, met with scores of potential donors and hosted countless development functions at the Point, the university’s official residence.

The personal touch works. In the past year NC State has received three eight-figure gifts, including a $10 million gift endowing and naming the Prestage Department of Poultry Science.

Engaging Hearts and Minds

A soon-to-be-announced $7 million gift to the College of Natural Resources helped boost the college’s fundraising by a jaw-dropping 263 percent over 2011-12. The donor, it turns out, isn’t an alumnus of the college, just a committed wildlife enthusiast, says David Ashcraft, executive director of development and college relations.

“Donors give to causes they feel passionate about,” he says. “That’s why face-to-face interactions are so important. The enthusiasm is contagious.”

Book going into the BookBot.
Donor enthusiasm is high at the award-winning Hunt Library on Centennial Campus.

That’s certainly true at the new Hunt Library on Centennial Campus, where visitors are treated to guided tours of the technology-rich facility. Greg Raschke, associate director for collections and scholarly communication, says the library launched an innovative outreach effort, including a social media campaign, to reach potential donors. That outreach, along with strong support from the university and its leadership, has paid dividends.

“If you can get people in the building, they are awe inspired and stunned by it,” he says.

But not too stunned to make a donation. The inspired effort helped the NCSU Libraries exceed its 2011-12 gifts and pledges by 75 percent, increasing cash in the door by a remarkable 357 percent.

A Strong Foundation

The College of Textiles also saw a triple-digit increase in donor giving this year, surpassing last year’s performance by 390 percent. Suzanne Weiner, who directs the college’s fundraising efforts, gives credit to the chancellor’s leadership, as well as the support of the North Carolina Textile Foundation.

Students outside the College of Textiles.
The North Carolina Textile Foundation helped drive fundraising efforts in the College of Textiles, where giving increased 390 percent.

“The membership committee of the board has focused on increasing diversity and broadening corporate representation,” she says “The overall focus with our board has been on strengthening its understanding of the mission and vision of the college and on facilitating more connections between the board and the faculty and students. This is such a win-win for everyone and  translates  into strong engagement with current students, alumni and industry.”

Three colleges have increased their numbers every year for the past three years: the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Natural Resources, and the College of Engineering.

Here are some highlights of the amount raised in 2012-13 in gifts and new commitments, and the percentage growth over the previous year for select colleges and units:

  • Agriculture and Life Sciences: $28.6 million (13%)
  • Design: $1.2 million (72%)
  • Engineering: $17.5 million (51%)
  • Humanities and Social Sciences: $1.5 million (63%)
  • Poole College of Management: $2.3 million (9%)
  • Natural Resources: $9 million (263%)
  • Physical and Mathematical Sciences: $2.5 million (5%)
  • Textiles: $4.4 million (390%)
  • Veterinary Medicine: $10.9 million (22%)
  • Arts NC State: $1.2 million (24%)
  • NCSU Libraries: $3.6 million (75%)

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