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A Guide to Fundraising for Faculty and Staff


Emory College and the Arts and Sciences Development Office believe that an integrated approach to planning and development – one that connects the expertise and enthusiasm of faculty, staff, and administrators with the skills and resources of development staff – represents our best strategy for fund raising. Our experiences on the road are a daily reminder that donors are eager to hear from faculty and staff. We also know from firsthand experience that donors have come to expect the development process (identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship) to run smoothly, placing a very high premium on professionalism, coordinated communication, polished proposals, and an intimate understanding of their interests and giving potential.

To help integrate faculty and staff into the fund raising mission of the College, and to ensure that donor expectations are not only met but exceeded in the process, we have created the following guidelines for fund raising. Please note that all solicitations, applications, or requests for private giving from foundations or corporations must be directed through Emory’s Office for Foundation and Corporate Relations. All requests for public funding (e.g., local, state, federal funding sources) must be coordinated with the College through the grants management process.

How To Get Started

We ask that you get started by discussing your vision with colleagues and with your department chair or program coordinator. At this time, you will also need to email Melissa Kontaridis (, with a brief description of your proposal. Melissa will let you know – within two weeks – whether your project is best suited for private giving or for other funding sources. This initial step is meant to maximize the time and energy of our faculty and staff.

As you proceed from preliminary discussions to a written proposal, you will want to do your homework: research similar models at other schools; determine why this project matters now and to whom; explore the viability of collaborating with other departments, divisions, or units; identify other funding sources to consider apart from (or in addition to) private giving; and begin to develop language for a mission statement, guiding principles, projected size and scope, positioning within the College, relationship to the strategic plan, etc. If you plan to raise funds for a department or academic program, you will want to review its current structure and standing, its immediate needs and priorities, and its vision and goals for the future.

From the outset, we want to emphasize that by the time a donor decides on your proposal you will have devoted a good deal of time and energy to the development process. Seeing a proposal to success typically involves extensive research, multiple proposal drafts, frequent communication with senior administrators and development staff, and possible site visits.

How To Submit a Proposal

Once you receive feedback from Melissa, you will need to complete an online proposal form available on the College’s website. Here you will be asked to specify in clear and cogent language:

  1. the history of your program and how private giving would change, expand, or enhance past, present, and future work;
  2. how your project/department relates to College priorities outlined in the strategic plan;
  3. how your project/department compares to models at other schools in terms of size, scope, and reputation (projected or actual);
  4. your strategy for marketing and branding the project/department; and
  5. why your project/department matters to a lay person and what type of donor might find it especially worthwhile. Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis.

Twice a year (mid-fall and mid-spring) a committee formed by the College will review submitted proposals and make recommendations to the Dean. The Dean will work with this committee and with senior leadership from the College Office and the Arts and Sciences Development Office to determine which proposals best relate to the fund raising mission of the College. Soon thereafter, you will be contacted with an update on the status of your proposal.

How To Turn Your Proposal Into A Priority

Fund raising must be driven by the priorities of the College. Therefore, a singular interest of an individual, department, or program cannot come at the expense of the collective needs of the College. The best way to ensure that your proposal becomes a fund raising priority is to connect its mission and impact directly to the goals and initiatives outlined in the College’s strategic plan – a plan that was carefully developed over two years by a steering committee consisting of College administrators and faculty representatives from all divisions of the Arts and Sciences.

How To Work With The Development Office

Once a proposal is determined to be a priority, the Development Office will work with faculty and staff to design, coordinate, and implement effective fund raising strategies. The Development Office is prepared to assist you in the following ways:

1) Prospect Identification and Qualification – One of the primary responsibilities of the Development Office is to continually work to identify new prospective donors and to visit with them to determine if they have the capacity and interest to get involved through private giving (a.k.a. qualification). We identify prospective donors via our alumni records, professional research, prospect management database, and our network of personal and professional contacts in order to gather adequate and accurate background information on donors (e.g., life history, work history, giving history, institutional involvement, etc.). Qualification comes through one-on-one communications, typically and ideally in the form of a personal visit. Certainly, if you know of any prospective donors who might be interested in your proposal, we encourage you to share their names and interests with us.

2) Cultivation – Cultivation is the process of developing a relationship with a prospective donor, allowing us to know enough about each other to determine the best area (or areas) for them to direct their gifts. During this process, which often involves many visits and people (development staff, senior administrators, deans, faculty, etc.), our office is responsible for coordinating communication with donors to prevent them from being called upon too frequently or, worse yet, simultaneously. If, through this process, the prospective donor is determined to have a possible interest in a particular project or program, we will arrange opportunities for the appropriate faculty or staff to meet with them personally. The role of the faculty or staff member is to represent the specific vision of the program, while the development officer will provide the guidance and strategy for follow-up and possible proposal submission.

3) Proposal Development – The Development Office will drive the process for proposal development and submission to the donor. Nonetheless, we are often dependent on faculty and staff to provide the substance of the proposal (i.e., history, specific plans, budget, etc). Through a collaborative process, we will determine the appropriate tone and content, presentation strategies, supporting materials, and donor requirements. The goal is to design a message that clearly defines how the donor’s interests match up to the College’s priorities, allowing for a unique opportunity to enrich the lives and legacies of both parties.

4) Solicitation – Often the solicitation occurs with the appropriate faculty or staff in the room, accompanied by the development officer. This may also involve the Dean, Provost, or President, depending on the size and scope of the solicitation. We do not expect faculty or staff to make specific requests from donors. Development staff will work with all participants to ensure a clear understanding of expected roles and responsibilities during the visit.

5) Stewardship – A long-term relationship with any donor, at any level of giving, depends upon professional and personalized communication about the value of their gift and upon making sure they know how the funds are being used and how much they are appreciated. We will work with faculty and staff to continue communication with donors after each phase of the development process – before and after the gift.

How Funds Get Distributed

As you might imagine, both the College Office and the Development Office must honor and attend to the needs and priorities of Emory College as a whole – across all divisions, departments, and programs. We are also well aware that some departments and programs are easily fundable through private giving, while others are virtually impossible to fund in this way. All, nonetheless, are vital to the continued success of the institution. We may ask departments and programs that raise significant funds, therefore, to reserve a portion of the gift for operational costs previously covered by the College, allowing us to redirect resources to other areas as needed. If these funds are restricted, the College will work with departments and programs to adjust their budgets accordingly.

How Interested Faculty Can Get More Involved

The College has established an ad hoc Faculty Committee on Fund Raising. Consisting of nine faculty from across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, the Committee is charged with:

  1. assisting the deans in determining fund raising priorities;
  2. representing the vision, values, and interests of Emory College to internal and external audiences;
  3. developing strategies to get faculty, staff, and students more engaged in the fund raising mission of the College;
  4. building meaningful relationships with key leaders on campus; and
  5. enhancing the work of the Development Office by accompanying deans and/or development officers on site visits, by attending special events on campus, and by reviewing development publications.

The Committee gathers as a group twice per semester, and faculty will serve two year terms at the request of the Dean.

For more information on the Faculty Committee on Fund Raising, please contact the College Office for Academic Planning, 405 Candler Library, (404) 727-6181.

Updated 11/02/10

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