Fundraising in the recession

Queen’s Centre funding at 12 per cent of initial target

Acting Vice-Principal (Advancement) Sean Conway says his office has raised $15.3 million of the initial target of $130 million for the Queen’s Centre.
Acting Vice-Principal (Advancement) Sean Conway says his office has raised $15.3 million of the initial target of $130 million for the Queen’s Centre.

With people’s wallets weighing less than they did a year ago, many don’t have the extra income they once did to make donations. Queen’s alumni are no exception.

Acting Vice-Principal (Advancement) Sean Conway’s but too aware of this fact as he acknowledges that garnering alumni support for the Queen’s Centre project has become a tough sell in light of the current recession.

“It’s been a tough season. It’s no secret that a lot of people who are likely candidates for giving are facing some personal challenges at the moment. But that situation will rectify itself,” he said. We are making steady progress, but I don’t want to sugarcoat the fact that right now we are in a tough economic time when a lot of people who are candidates for giving are looking at their personal wealth being shrunk by a very sharp downturn in the equity markets.”

Conway said the office of advancement has raised 12 per cent of its $130 million dollar target since it was originally set in December of 2006.

“At this period of time, we have raised $15.3 million,” he said. Conway said his office is working on a marketing campaign designed to appeal to alumni.

“We’re going to be launching a major Queen’s campaign sometime in the next 18 months. It’s certainly going to be focusing on a number of both the capital and program needs of the University. The actual scope of the campaign is yet to be determined.”

But Conway said fundraising goes beyond traditional donations.

“One of the ways that people often give to the University is through bequests,” he said. “We are also talking to businesses in the corporate sector and foundations for financial support.”

Despite the unstable economy and the tensions surrounding the cancellation of Homecoming, Conway said he’s optimistic alumni will continue to support the Queen’s Centre because of their faith in the initiative.

“Our alumni have been very generous over the years and over the decades, so we’re confident that we can meet this objective. We clearly have a lot of work that we need to do and we intend to do it.”

There are no current plans for the target to change, Conway said adding that he could not say how much alumni funding is being allocated to each individual phase of the project.

“This is not going to be done in a year or two. This is a big project. This is going to take a lot of time and commitment,” he said. “We think that once the building of Phase One is starting to take shape and its completion later this year will provide some helpful impetus to this project.”

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