One of the key metrics our division monitors and reports to University leadership, including the Board of Regents, is our cost-per-dollar raised. It’s critical that our division strategically use dollars allocated to our work to produce a high return on investment (ROI). Augsburg is careful with resources and leaner than most regional universities. Advancement — our fundraising, alumni, parent, and community relations–is no exception. Nearly all of our peer schools run fundraising operations in the range of $.25 per dollar raised. At Augsburg we hold our expenses to half of that — around $.10-$.12 per dollar raised.
This week the Education Advisory Board posted “3 traits of the most successful advancement offices—and how to put them into practice” including research on fundraising return on investment in higher education. In comparison to the 150 schools included in this EAB study, Augsburg does really well! For example, we have around 25 FTE and generally hit fundraising totals between $18 million and $25 million. My dad would say that we are “hitting well above our weight class” which you can see illustrated below in the middle blue arrow.
What do we credit our high-ROI to? Augsburg’s Board of Regents and President Paul Pribbenow have been focused on building this type of Advancement division for more than a decade. We have an incredibly strong major and planned gift team that is focused, fast-paced, and committed to shared success. I like the way we are structured and feel good not only about the dollars we raise but the way we go about raising funds. Running a high-ROI program feels like we are focused on what benefits our faculty and students the most: securing support for scholarships, professorships, and the programs that make Augsburg distinct.