The landscape

The University of Toronto sought to build on its successful “Boundless” campaign, which raised more than $2.6 billion, by training its frontline fundraisers, and managers of frontline fundraisers on the skills necessary to accelerate growth that would enable the university to increase its levels of support from $200 million to $300 million or more annually on a sustainable basis. As part of those efforts, it also sought to ensure gift officers and fundraising leaders across the university had a shared set of expectations.

The solution

After a GG+A study identified areas for potential growth, the university engaged the firm in 2018 to conduct teaching and coaching sessions for its senior leaders within advancement, gift officer managers, and frontline gift officers.

For example, the frontline fundraiser sessions sought to provide gift officers with insights to key fundraising business structures, including performance metrics and reporting, in addition to presenting techniques for accelerating prospects through the donor continuum. Meanwhile, the manager sessions sought to help managers develop shared approaches to increasing their gift officers’ performance and productivity through data-driven management techniques and strategies to overcome common obstacles and challenges that inhibit fundraiser effectiveness. The sessions also aimed to help the advancement teams better manage their pipeline of existing prospective donors and to expand the university’s outreach to previously unengaged prospects.

The result

The teaching and coaching sessions brought together the university’s advancement teams from across campus to learn industrywide best practices. The sessions also ensured that all divisions were aligned to industry standards and benchmarks.

By bringing together colleagues, the sessions also helped foster a culture of collaboration across the university. Those connections have proven invaluable as the institution embarks on a number of interdisciplinary initiatives that require collaboration between different faculties and renowned programs.