Durham University graduates pledge support for the next generation
(17 March 2003)
Past students of Durham University are donating thousands of pounds to help the University maintain its quality in teaching and research and to support current and future students.
The generous pledges are coming in as a result of the on-going University Annual Giving Programme. Current students are making telephone calls in the evenings to more than 5,000 alumni over an 8 week period to ask for their support. At just past the half-way stage, pledges stand at over £80,000.
The income raised from the Programme is used to fund improvements and expansion to research, teaching, living and sports facilities, and for bursaries and scholarships. Since 1994, the University has been able to make use of £2.1 million raised through the Programme.
A significant proportion of the income raised goes to the Student Opportunities Fund which has already built up an endowment of £1.2 million, the majority of which has been contributed by alumni. The Fund helps to provide bursaries to attract and support talented applicants from neighbourhoods with little or no tradition of going to university.
Vice Chancellor Sir Kenneth Calman, said: “The Government’s White Paper recognises our success so far in raising funds from our alumni and it sees a much greater role for universities in establishing endowment funds and using the income from them. The Paper outlines a radical shake-up of higher education and its funding which makes this telephone campaign even more vital to the future quality of our teaching and research and the overall student experience.”
There are 30 students on the team working from the dedicated call centre. The student callers are given thorough training before taking to the phones which includes aspects such as fundraising theory, telephone conduct and the goals of the Annual Giving Programme. Throughout the 8 week period, there are regular one to one coaching and support sessions.
Scott Hayter, Director of Corporate Development and Communications commented: “The students working on the programme are excellent ambassadors for the University. They talk to alumni not only about financial support they may be able to give to the University but also about their time at Durham. The telephone conversations also give graduates the opportunity to catch up on the latest developments in their college and department”.
The Annual Giving Programme is one of the first aspects of the University’s campaign to raise £175 million by its 175th anniversary in 2007. Later this year the University will announce details of key campaign projects. The overall long-term fundraising has already achieved in external income, or pledges, some £90 million towards this next funding landmark.
This income has been raised from a combination of sources including generous donations from alumni, challenge-based grants from charitable trusts and national organisations, sponsorships and other support from industry and business. It has already helped to provide for new professorships, scholarships and infrastructure projects ranging from the £6 million Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics and a £10 million Wolfson Research Institute at Queen's Campus, Stockton to student IT facilities and a water-based hockey pitch.
Follow-up story on Rachel Cadman from Dalavich near Oban in Oban Times (27/03/03).
Notes to Editors
- The University has conducted 14 telephone campaigns and 3 mail campaigns since 1994, contacting almost 35,000 graduates in the UK. Two telephone campaigns have been conducted to the USA and Canada.
- The Government’s White Paper emphasises the importance of universities establishing endowment funds in much the same way as is done in the United States where alumni giving is an integral and significant part of university funding. Durham University is recognised in the White Paper as one of the more advanced universities in the UK within this area of fundraising.
- Durham is one of nine universities to feature in the Department for Education and Skills video that is being shown at the series of events related to the White Paper, hosted by Charles Clarke and other ministers around the country. (eg 11 March in Newcastle) Each university takes part to illustrate one of the chapters of the White Paper. Durham illustrates Funding, and in particular the extra emphasis to be placed by the university sector on raising funds from alumni and donations from other sources. It is a more established method in North America than it is in Britain, but Durham has one of the better records. The video includes staff of the University Development Team and student helpers who call graduates on behalf of the University to help interest them in University projects. It also includes footage of the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics, funded with help from graduate and entrepreneur Dr Peter Ogden, and opened by the Prime Minister last year.