The latest Record is, as usual, filled with all sorts of fun stuff for close watchers of all things Eph. For example, this article provides an update on the College’s “Climb Far” fund raising campaign. The most interesting parts deal with the strategy behind the campaign.

During what is called the “nucleus phase” the period before a fundraising campaign is publicized, the campaign hit its target, collecting approximately $100 million of its $400 million goal.

“Our focus prior to kick-off was targeting key alumni leaders, those closest to the College and those that could contribute the largest gifts,” Birrell said. By reaching the 25 percent benchmark during this test period, the College moved into the next phase of fundraising.

A great project for one of David Zimmerman’s thesis students would be to look at the economics of fund raising at Williams. I am especially curious about the distribution of total giving by gift size. For example, it is clear in the above that only a handful (25?) of individuals were needed to raise 1/4 of the total target. These are the wealthiest of the wealthy. One reason why the College might not be concerned about high pay to senior officials is that, for a key part of the donor base, that pay level would be considered peanuts.

The only component of the campaign that is not continuing as expected is the growth of the Alumni Fund and the Parents’ Fund, which the College has placed at the center of its efforts. Officials are asking alumni and parents to donate $56 million over the next five years.

It would be nice to get a better sense of the breakdown among the different categories. I read this, so far targeting $100 million from the super-weathly and $50 from the hoi polloi.

The regional committees Schapiro referred to will attempt to secure major gifts from alumni in their local areas. A major gift consists of $100,000 or more over a 5-year period.

The College expects to receive gifts of over $1 million from only about 65-70 donors. They are asking most committed donors to give between $20,000 and $50,000 over five years. “We are asking people for the next five years to place Williams at the top of the list or as close to the top as they feel able in terms of philanthropy,” Callahan said.

It seems from this summary, that a majority of the fund-raising ($250 million?) might come from people for whom $400,000 in annual income is neither peanuts nor so far away as to be somehow abstract. Are those sorts of people put off by the fact that the College, despite seeking our philanthropy, still feels wealthy enough to pay its top administrators so lavishly?

I know that my wife is.

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