Despite slump in economy, Annual Giving soars
The University received $54.1 million in the 2007-08 Annual Giving campaign, amassing the highest total since the inception of yearly fundraising campaigns in 1940.
This year's total is a $5 million improvement from the 2006-07 campaign, which was also record-breaking.
This year's campaign saw participation from 59.2 percent of undergraduate alumni. Graduate alumni raised $1.8 million and the Princeton Parents Fund raised $2.6 million.
As a part of its $1.75 billion Aspire Capital Campaign, the University hopes to raise at least $250 million through Annual Giving in the five year period from 2007 to 2012.
"We are now four million dollars ahead of where we thought we would be in the first year," President Tilghman said of this year's Annual Giving results.
Annual Giving Director William Hardt '63 explained that though the University has a robust $15.8 billion endowment and contributes to 40 percent of the operating budget, many of its programs rely on Annual Giving to function.
Annual Giving provides unrestricted funds for the University's operating budget. Hardt emphasized financial aid and precepts as expensive programs that are bolstered by Annual Giving funds.
"Without that kind of support, those programs would be diminished to some degree," he said.
Hardt said the success of this year's campaign was "terrific" and was not eclipsed by woes in the greater economy.
"Obviously, it's always gratifying to reach and exceed the goal, particularly so in a year that was unsettled economically," Hardt said, adding that there was the worry that participation would suffer. In the economic recession of 2001, charitable giving by individuals fell by 1.7 percent from the previous year, according to a study by the American Association of Fundraising Counsel Trust for Philanthropy.
This year, the Class of 1983 raised $8.3 million, the highest total for any class in the history of Annual Giving.
Both Tilghman and Hardt attributed this year's Annual Giving success to the 3,000 volunteers across the nation, as well as an increased reliance on new technologies.
"The internet is a more and more important source of gifts that alumni prefer," Hardt said, explaining that the "basic strategy" for soliciting gifts "continues to be as personal as possible.""What the donors are hearing are the authentic voices of fellow Princetonians," he said.