Climb to the campaign summit continues at a quick pace
By all accounts, 2013 has the potential to be a watershed year for Athabasca University’s Open Our World fundraising campaign.
The campaign, AU’s first major foray into the campaign realm, is being well-received, more alumni are “paying it forward” by giving to the university, the donation tally is rising steadily and the number of relationships built or strengthened bodes well for future support.
“We have great momentum,” says Heather Kennedy, campaign chair and member of the AU Board of Governors. “There are so many good things on the go and so many opportunities in the pipe — and they’ll start to reveal themselves in the next few months.”
Among the many reasons underscoring her optimism, she notes that “in corporate Canada, particularly in the West, corporate social responsibility and being part of the communities in which these companies work is a major focus — and AU’s priorities dovetail with what they want to do.
“In corporate Canada, particularly in the West, corporate social responsibility and being part of the communities in which these companies work is a major focus — and AU’s priorities dovetail with what they want to do.”
Her experiences meeting with colleagues in her own industry (Kennedy is vice-president, government relations, for Suncor Energy) confirm the point. “Many of them are excited when they hear testimonials from students, learn how many of their employees are enrolled at AU or discover how AU’s programs can work with their stakeholders. It’s easy for them to see the value in AU and in considering supporting AU.”
“People are sometimes surprised and always enthusiastic (when they) learn more about the university,” adds Dr. Pamela Walsh, AU’s vice-president of advancement. “The campaign has led to a greater awareness of AU and its mission, which in turn has led to greater investment in AU and its students.
It’s also “a great launching pad for creating and continuing relationships,” Walsh says. “We’re building relationships with individuals, alumni and industry while exploring the alignment between their interests and our institutional priorities. It’s a bit of an art and a science, but at the end of the day AU and each of its donors should benefit from the partnership.”