Donations on rise, officials say

Private monetary contributions are crucial for UNA to continue to be able to support various operations, programs, and scholarships, officials said. Statistics from literature from the UNA advancement office show that students have to pay a higher percentage of their cost to attend UNA than in years past.

Statistics from literature on the 1830 fund show that 10 years ago students had to pay only 47.62 percent of the cost to attend UNA. Students now have to pay 63.37 percent.

Dr. Alan Medders, vice president of advancement, said the fiscal year lasts from October 1 to Sept. 30. Last year at this time, private contributions were approximately $1.9 million, and this year they are approximately $1.1 million.

These numbers do not include numbers from the spring phonathon, which is still in progress. The majority of contributions do not come from the fall and spring phonathons, though, Medders said.

“There are still five months to go in our fiscal year, and in our world a lot can change in a day,” Medders said. “Another thing that has happened, too—and this is kind of in preparation for facilities, scholarships, and athletics—we are getting people to start multi-year pledges. This year, we have pledges that will go up to $1.3 million.”

Medders said that last year at this time, there was $34,000 in pledges. The increase of pledge amount this year is a great payoff, he said, because that means the amount of funds raised next year is already on the rise.

“What we have been doing over the past few years is getting people to get into a giving culture,” Medders said. “This year, it is really starting to pay off. That means we have started a culture of giving rather than people just responding to an annual appeal.”

Melody Stewart, athletics annual fund/major gifts officer, said she and the rest of advancement have tried to promote alumni giving of all sizes. She said she wants alumni to know that if more people give a gift—even a relatively small amount—it can make a big impact.

“We have really worked on communicating—especially to our younger alumni—that their $50 commitment makes just as much of an impact in increasing the alumni giving percentage as larger gifts,” she said.

Increasing the alumni giving percentage helps with the obtaining of grants and other larger funds, Steward said.

Given the spring phonathon numbers and other factors not included in the $1.1 million amount, Medders and Stewart said they predict the monetary amount of contributions will exceed the $1.4 million amount of last year.