Fundraising campaign to develop in next two years

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Net gains from fundraising updatedUniversity President Michael Lovell indicated in an interview that conversations are underway to move Marquette’s next campaign into place following almost a decade of Marquette operating without a central fundraising campaign.

“We need to take about a year to assess what the biggest challenges and opportunities are,” Lovell said. “Certainly after the first year we’re going to start planning and I think by two years we’re going to be launching a campaign.”

The past decade saw a general lull in net revenues from fundraising at the university compared to the years that finished off the eight-year Magis campaign that ended in 2006. Like at many other nonprofit schools throughout the country, the 2008 recession forced Marquette to back off plans for its next campaign and to focus instead on maintaining its top projects.

“I do think the targets will be much higher than we are currently raising,” Lovell said. “There are a lot of people who care very passionately about this university.”

Marquette has already seen some progress, with donations exceeding the university’s expectations in the past fiscal year.

“Our (advancement) team is coming off a year in which it has considerable momentum, surpassing its fundraising goal by nearly $10 million, raising a total of $60.7 million,” said Brian Dorrington, a spokesman for the university.

Last year was also the first year in at least a decade that the university saw a decrease in the amount of money spent on fundraising, according to the university’s tax documents.

Fundraising expenditures have steadily increased over the last decade from $6 million in 2003 to $17 million in 2012, dragging down the overall net gains.

In 2013, however, fundraising expenditures dropped to $16.7 million.

Dorrington did not comment on expenses associated with fundraising, and Michael VanDerhoef, vice president for University Advancement, was not available to comment.

The Council for Aid to Education, a group that tracks the amount of money raised by schools throughout the country, reported that Marquette brought in roughly $58 million in donations last year, equating to roughly $3.49 earned for every dollar spent.

While that ratio is higher compared to recent years, it is far below the peak in 2004, when the university earned $9.23 for every dollar it spent.

The peak occurred during the height of the Magis campaign, which included such high-profile donations as the $10 million gift for the Raynor Library and the $28 million donation by J. William and Mary Diedrich for the College of Communication.

A commitment to fundraising was one of the key tasks defined in the job description for the new president of the university. Many at Marquette expressed hope that President Lovell, who started his position at Marquette June 1, would begin a new fundraising campaign.

In VanDerhoef’s most recent interview with the Tribune, he said, “I think we’re all interested in launching a new campaign, but we just want to make sure that we’re prepared and that we’ve picked the right priorities for the university.”

Dorrington said the next steps in starting up the new campaign include introducing Lovell to campus community and to alumni across the country.

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