Top marks for donor appreciation

I’m buzzing after spending the morning at our university’s ‘Donor Appreciation Day’. This was a super initiative, led by Anne-Marie Rigley in our development office, that involved inviting all the generous people who donate to the University of Kent to drop by for a coffee, pastries and heart-shaped chocolates (well, it is Valentine’s day and we do love our donors).

The wide range of people who joined us today – despite the wind and the rain – included those giving smaller and larger gifts, each one valued because of the difference it makes to the beneficiaries. The development office tell me that in the last academic year 1,029 donors gave to Kent, 920 of whom were alumni. I also learnt that our youngest donor is just 19 years old – a great age to have begun their philanthropic journey.

Many of our guests donate to the Kent Opportunity Fund which supports excellent students to complete their studies. An extra nice touch today was the presence of some of those students – all bright and smiley, and carrying cards saying ‘Thank you for supporting me’.

The donors seemed to enjoy seeing in the flesh how their money was being used. And I’m sure they were glad to be at an event that was purely about thanking – with no hint of “thanks but how about making another/bigger gift?”

It will be very interesting to see how this first class example of donor stewardship translates into income in the coming year – I’ll post an update if I can get the figures!


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