Alumni donations continue to increase

By Donald Roth Jr.

Both the number and total amount of alumni donations are on the rise this year.

On Jan. 31, more than halfway through the fiscal year, NIU had received $418,677 in alumni donations while through the same period in 1991 contributions only reached $311,203, said Robert Brown, NIU director of special giving. The increase of $107,474 was a jump of about 25 percent.

There was also a large increase in the number of people willing to give, Brown said. The number of people giving money to NIU so far this year increased by 1,187 compared to last year’s fiscal figures.

“We were able to contact more alumni in a far shorter amount of time this year and we received one large gift-in-kind of nearly $58,000,” Brown said.

Last semester’s NIU phone-a-thon yielded record donations, Brown said.

“We received over $200,000 in pledges in the last phone-a-thon, an increase of 15 percent over all of 1990-91,” Brown said. The phone-a-thon is held twice a year, Brown said, and is conducted by Chicago Telemarketing Company.

“The reason CTC achieved this record amount was that it increased the average pledge from $15.77 to $22.81,” Brown said.

Brown said in December 1991, NIU had received $23,760 more than the same time last year, an increase of nearly 20 percent.

The next NIU phone-a-thon will be held later this month.

“We should be able to attain around $20,000 more in pledges this time around,” Brown said. “We received the bulk of our phone-a-thon giving the first time around.”

While the NIU phone and mail-a-thons provide the backbone for alumni support, they do not meet all the needs and wants of the NIU community.

“With nearly $1 million cut out of the state of Illinois budget for NIU, everyone is feeling the pinch,” Brown said.

Brown and his staff have come up with a plan to help NIU faculty deal with budget cuts—the parents phone-a-thon.

Unlike the phone-a-thon run by CTC, the parents phone-a-thon is conducted by volunteers from the NIU Circle-K Organization, Brown said.

Through the use of the parents phone-a-thon, NIU raises funds for academic programs like guest speakers, equipment and field trips which are not fully funded by the state, Brown said.

“Professors can request money for individual programs and will evaluate this need on a case-by-case basis,” Brown said.

The parents phone-a-thon began on Feb. 9 and will continue through spring break.

Brown said that on the first night his staff collected over $1,000 on nearly 70 pledges.

“I am very happy that parents are showing their support for NIU despite the recession. Recognizing the challenges we are currently facing with budget cuts is important,” Brown said.

NIU has received an increase in alumni donations for eight out of the ten last years, Brown said.