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Experts from leading universities gather at UM to discuss the significance of fundraising
Attendees had in-depth discussions on a wide range of topics, including “The Objectives & Functions of Institutional Development/Advancement”, “Building Community Partnership and Donor Relationships”, “Strategies & Management of Fundraising Activities”, and “Governance/Management of Foundation and Endowment Funds”. Six keynote speakers included Mr. Ricky Cheng, Director of Institutional Advancement of The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Ms. Angela Chapman, Director of Advancement of the National University of Singapore; Prof. William H. Mobley, Professor Emeritus of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) and President Emeritus of Texas A&M University; Dr. Guy K. Diedrich, Vice Chancellor of Federal Relations and Commercialization of The Texas A&M University System; Ms. Krista Slade, Executive Director of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Asia-Pacific Region; and Ms. Jennifer Bott, Chief Executive of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Foundation, Australia.
Speakers shared their experience garnered from many years of involvement in fundraising activities and provided detailed analysis of the principles, significance, and commonality of fundraising activities in world-class universities as well as the economic and brand value of university foundations, experience about successful fundraising, and how universities can earn recognition from the society and build community partnership. They noted that world-class universities mostly have university foundations, and usually universities with higher alumni giving rates also have higher university rankings. Indeed, “alumni giving rate” has become an important indicator of a university’s brand value and teaching quality. They remarked that when carrying out fundraising activities, a university should build good relations and mutual trust with the donors and clearly convey the university’s vision and missions to the donors to make them understand that giving to education is an important path to realizing the shared educational dream and will have far-reaching effects on the progress of human society.
Undeniably, attracting large donations is important for all universities that aspire to make significant progress and realize sustainable development. However, attracting small donations from the alumni is equally important. A study of the fundraising performance of some top universities over the past decade reveals that more than 80% of the alumni who donated USD one million or above made repeated donations to their alma maters during the first five years of graduation; and donations from the alumni accounted for approximately 40% of the total donations received by the universities in question. The findings show that fostering a culture of giving to education in the society is undoubtedly very important for a university’s fundraising effort, but cultivating among the alumni a fine tradition of repaying the alma mater is just as important.
The opening ceremony began at 9:30 a.m. Dr. Tse Chi Wai, Chair of the University Council of UM, representative of the founding members of UMDF, and Vice Chair of the Trustees Committee of UMDF, said in his speech at the opening ceremony: “The forum we host today is the first of its kind for the University of Macau, and the theme of the forum is on Institutional Advancement, which is a new subject of interest for this University. As we all know, in spite of the fancy name, Institutional Advancement is about finding more resources to support the Institution; so that it can further advance along the path it has set for itself. In the case of the University of Macau, what we would like to learn in the Forum is how to make use of the fundraising mechanism we have set up since Dec. 7 of last year to help advance the University of Macau.” Dr. Tse said that the new UM campus has brought about new challenges and opportunities for UM, and UM will seize the opportunities to realize the goal of becoming a world-class university.
UM Rector Wei Zhao pointed out in his speech that UM’s goal is to become “a first-class university with unique regional characteristics”. He said that to better fulfill its educational missions, UM has launched a series of reforms in teaching, research and governance, and the most important initiative is the establishment of UMDF. Rector Wei Zhao said that establishing university foundations is a common practice of many top universities in the world, and the purpose of UMDF is to strengthen the university’s ties with the community and obtain donations from the alumni and the community to support the university’s long-term development. He said UMDF obtained committed and received donations of approximately MOP 300 million within only six months of its establishment, and in the following year UM will use a small percentage of the funds to recruit top-notch professors from around the world; sponsor undergraduate students for participation in the residential college system piloted on the current campus; reward outstanding teaching and academic performance; and sponsor strategic teaching and research projects. Rector Wei Zhao said that he is confident that with the unreserved support of UMDF, UM will progress towards the goal of becoming a world-class university in an “orderly, stable, and systematic” manner.