Rutgers Campaign Concludes; University Declares It a Success

Amanda Kohn by on Jul 22, 2015

Rutgers_logoRutgers University announced at the end of January 2015 that its seven-and-a-half-year Our Rutgers, Our Future campaign has come to a close. Throughout the Alumni Association website, as well as on the Rutgers University Foundation homepage, banners and other promotional images advertise the campaign’s results. The Our Rutgers, Our Future section of the Rutgers University Foundation sitelet incorporates an overview of the campaign, news articles, videos and a donor recognition section, in which a Rutgers scholarship student from New Jersey thanks donors for their support. The Final Report page highlights each campaign priority, news articles, videos and a breakdown of total giving results. Both the Final Report page and Our Rutgers, Our Future section present visitors with a letter from President Bob Barchi discussing the impact and key highlights of the campaign, as well as a video of Barchi thanking donors and supporters for surpassing the campaign goal. Additional videos feature current students, faculty and administrators.

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President Bob Barchi’s Video and Letter Announcing the Close of Our Rutgers, Our Future Campaign

Rutgers successfully reached its billion-dollar goal to support four major campaign priorities: faculty and research, students and learning, campuses and facilities and university and community programs. The university announced that over half of the 130,450 donors were alumni, and 52% were first-time donors.

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Our Rutgers, Our Future Campaign Logo

Rutgers hopes that the $1.037 billion raised from the Our Rutgers, Our Future campaign will continue to transform the Rutgers University student experience, research endeavors and programs. A few highlights from the campaign results announced by the school include:

  • $310 million in newly endowed funds raised
  • 29 endowed chairs established, three of which are dedicated to fighting cancer
  • 449 endowed scholarships and fellowships created
  • $10 million grant secured from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health
  • Over $100 million raised in support of athletics
  • More than $5.9 million in campaign gifts for the Rutgers Future Scholars program from 315 donors
  • $456 million raised from New Jersey residents alone, allowing for 26,669 future scholarships

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Breakdown of Total Giving by Priority

One interesting point to consider about the Our Rutgers, Our Future campaign is the university’s recent move to join the Big Ten Conference. The university’s 2014 entrance into the Big Ten had always been expected to impact fundraising, but the size of that impact was unknown. According to NJ.com, within one year of joining the Big Ten, athletic donations grew from $4.5 million to $8.4 million; over the final six months of the campaign, Rutgers experienced an 85% surge in athletics giving. This seems to confirm that athletics decisions and exposure help immensely with campaigning and fundraising, and that joining the Big Ten increased name recognition for Rutgers. According to Forbes, the Big Ten was the most valuable college conference in 2014, with money from the conference’s tournament and bowl games earning close to $70 million. Overall, university and community programs, which encapsulates athletics fundraising, was the third most lucrative priority for the Our Rutgers, Our Future campaign, and athletics giving itself represented approximately 9.8% of the campaign total.

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Big Ten Conference Banner Image

Overall, the Our Rutgers, Our Future campaign successfully surpassed its $1 billion goal by almost four percent. It will be interesting to see how Rutgers’ involvement in the Big Ten Conference affects future giving, and to see what the advancement team has planned for future campaigns. Did the circumstances simply work in the university’s favor this one time, or did Rutgers just set a new bar for itself, to be surpassed again and again?

For more information on Alumni Monitor and our research on alumni outreach and engagement, please contact Dana Peterson at dpeterson@corporateinsight.com or visit us at alumnimonitor.corporateinsight.com.

About The Author

Amanda Kohn

Amanda is a Senior Research Associate for Alumni Monitor at Corporate Insight. Read more