The Office of Planning and Development reported record annual giving this year, with $10,477,227 raised in fiscal year (FY) 2012, a six percent increase from FY 2011.
“Annual giving is Bowdoin’s top priority, so we have a lot of momentum in terms of staff and volunteers pulling together to try to bring those gifts in,” said Director of Annual Giving Brannon Fisher.
Annual giving is a subset of all gifts to Bowdoin, and is comprised of donations from alumni, parents and friends of the College. The funds allocated for annual giving are used for current expenditures and are a crucial part of the College’s operating budget.
In FY 2011, the College received $9,845,168 in annual gifts. The six percent jump from FY 2011 to FY 2012 mirrors the growth of annual giving donations in the past two years. Last year, annual giving also increased by six percent.
Fisher cited the College’s “incredibly loyal alumni body” as a reason for the growth in annual giving. This year, nearly 60 percent of alumni donated to the College.
“They understand Bowdoin’s need for unrestricted gifts, and they’ve answered the call when we’ve asked them for it,” said Fisher.
Fisher added that the trustees “have been incredibly generous to Bowdoin and have ensured that the College continues to have a reliable stream of unrestricted gift revenue to bolster the operating budget.”
The Office of Planning and Development also implemented “innovative initiatives” to raise money for the College’s annual fund, said Fisher.
The Hyde Scholarships program asks donors to make a multi-year gift that is restricted to the financial aid fund. In addition, Sundial Circle enables alumni and friends of the College to make a monthly recurring gift rather than a large, one-time expense.
The Sundial Circle “allows us to have more predictability in gift revenue,” explained Fisher. “All we need to do is thank them. We don’t need to ask them for a gift again and again.”
While annual giving increased this year, total giving to the College—which includes both annual giving and gifts to the endowment fund—decreased by 16 percent.
In FY 2012, the College took in gifts worth $30,183,577, in comparison to FY 2011, in which it received gifts totaling $35,935,488.
Fisher explained that the 16 percent decrease reflects the end of the College’s 2009 capital campaign, as many significant donors’ multi-year pledges ended last year.
In FY 2011, Bowdoin’s total giving decreased by 25 percent.
“We had a good year, but because of the timing of the Bowdoin campaign, which ended in 2008, we saw a declining number of campaign pledges being paid off,” said Fisher. “We predicted that we would have less money coming in last year than the year before, so we were planning for that.”
In recent years, Bowdoin has seen totals ranging from around $34.5 million in FY 2006 to a record $59.8 million in FY 2009 at the conclusion of The Bowdoin Campaign.
Fisher said that although there were fewer gifts to the endowment last year, he expects annual giving to continue to increase during FY 2013, with a goal of $10,607,000.
Editor's note: The original version of this article misreported the goal for annual giving in FY 2013. The Office of Planning and Development hopes to raise $10,607,000 in total annual giving, including $8,350,000 exclusively from the alumni fund. The article has been updated to correct this inaccuracy.