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Meeting an alumni potential donor tomorrow- WTF?

(9 Posts)
ChristmasCabbage Mon 15-Feb-16 14:41:29

There was an email sent around a small group of academics last week asking if anyone was free to meet this guy who it turns out is some big shot City dude with a soft spot for disadvantaged children tax relief. I was the only one with time so I said 'yes'.

I'm guessing this is something like the US model of buttering up rich alumni to donate money to the university.

Does anyone have experience of this. What is expected of me when I meet this dude? I feel uneasy about the whole thing and really regret saying 'yes' to this. Any experiences would be great to hear smile

Earlybird Mon 15-Feb-16 14:51:07

Speak to the person that sent the email to find out what is expected of you.

And don't be so cynical. It is an interesting opportunity to meet someone who is generous, and wants to 'give back'. You'll be able to tell him what is positive at the school, and what is needed. And who knows? Maybe he'll take your suggestions and write a big cheque. wink

ChristmasCabbage Mon 15-Feb-16 14:55:10

Earlybird I'm very cynical. I'm very doubtful of him being 'generous' and wanting to 'give back' but that's a whole other thread!

I've emailed the alumni woman but she's out of the office for the rest of the day.

Well a big fat cheque would be lovely as long as it goes to fund a PhD student for me or another colleague rather than straight into central coffers.

maybebabybee Mon 15-Feb-16 15:00:36

I work for a business school (part of a bigger RG university) and this is pretty standard practice for us.

Earlybird Mon 15-Feb-16 15:01:21

Also, would be interesting to ask him
- when he attended the school, and what it was like when he was there
- get him talking, and perhaps he'll share some enlightening stories
- what he thinks the school did for him professionally and personally
- what he would like to do for the school / students now, and why

Think of him as a 'fairy godfather' who may be able to offer assistance in areas of real need. It has the potential to be a wonderful opportunity for the school and students.

And if he is motivated strictly by tax advantages to be gained - so what? He's looking for someone / something has to be the beneficiary of his generosity- so why not the school / students?

ChristmasCabbage Mon 15-Feb-16 15:15:39

Earlybird Think of him as a 'fairy godfather' And who's the dowdy, downtrodden Cinderella desperate to go to the ball?

Earlybird Mon 15-Feb-16 15:25:52

I get it.....then take the cynical approach, if you prefer - hope that you can use him and his money to benefit the school and your students. Think of it as a means to an end.

ChristmasCabbage Mon 15-Feb-16 15:35:29

Earlybird I meant to put a grin on the end of that question to show I'm only semi-serious!!

I think he's visiting the university for a few days and having a string of meetings with people, most of whom I guess are trying to butter some money out of him. Bleurgh. Feels very much like a medieval king holding court for his subjects.

I might try my magic tricks. He'll have had days of being buttered up about various bits and pieces of research. But will he have seen an academic doing 'pick a card, any card' grin

Foginthehills Mon 15-Feb-16 16:39:06

If you think others are going to be asking for money all the time, take a different approach. As others have said upthread, ask him about his interests, what drives him, etc etc. I was taught by our "Big Gifts" people (yes, there's someone with a job title a bit like this) that you shouldn't ask for money straightaway, but seek to build a relationship.

Or my other advice:

Nice dress, high heels.

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