UBC Okanagan sets $100 million fundraising record; hopes to do better next time - InfoNews

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UBC Okanagan sets $100 million fundraising record; hopes to do better next time

The UBC Okanagan campus in Kelowna.
Image Credit: UBC Okanagan via Flickr
April 08, 2016 - 1:00 PM

KELOWNA - Not even a year after raising $100 million during the largest capital fundraising campaign ever held outside the Lower Mainland, UBC Okanagan is already thinking ahead to the next one.

The seeds of the Start An Evolution campaign predates her time here, explains UBCO principal Dr. Deborah Buszard, and the next campaign will take from five to seven years to reach its conclusion.

“There is what they call a quiet period where we start talking to the big, generous committed supporters,” Buszard says. “We wouldn’t announce anything until we get a sense of the support behind it from them.”

Only then would the university begin developing the public face of the campaign — with the help of some outside experts — and set a fundraising goal, Buszard says.

“We conduct the campaign ourselves but hire international experts to advise us on how best to position ourselves.”

Universities and colleges have an advantage with a ready-made list of alumni who hopefully harbour fond memories of their alma mater and have taken their education and gone on to make good money.

Former students contributed $26 million to the Start An Evolution campaign and Buszard says alumni donations are a significant part of the school’s budget each year.

“It isn’t just icing on the cake,” Buszard says, pointing to UBC to head office in Vancouver, where she says the an entire department is devoted to keeping the donations rolling in.

“UBC takes in about $200 to $300 million a year from donations. It takes an engine to keep that going,” she adds.

UBC is in the midst of a search for a new president and Buszard predicts whoever fills the role will initiate the next campaign.

And she plans to set the bar even higher than Start An Evolution after witnessing its success.

“I was sceptical, I will admit,” says Buszard, who says the campaign had already raised $60 million when she took her position at UBCO. “But I was both delighted and surprised. It’s twice what anyone else has raised.”

Find past stories on UBCO here.

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