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Alternative Market Briefing

Commonfund Institute releases new white paper on endowment fundraising

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York: Nonprofits have to "raise the bar" in fund-raising according to a new Commonfund white paper, "Essential not Optional: A strategic approach to fund-raising for endowments," by John S. Griswold, Executive Director, and William F. Jarvis, Managing Director, Commonfund Institute. Commonfund is an institutional investment firm serving nonprofit institutions, pension funds with approximately $26bn in assets under management. In the paper, authors write that the persistently low yield investment environment is forcing university endowments to revisit fundraising as more than a tactical means of plugging small gaps in capital flows.

According to the authors, the most important recent development in endowments is the structural change that has occurred over the last 20 years in leading institutions’ thinking about the development process. Before, fund-raising was viewed as a tactical function for the organization, typically consisting of annual fund drives supplemented by occasional larger-scale but discrete capital campaigns. Now it has become the norm for leading endowed nonprofits to staff and manage the fund-raising function as a strategic contributor to the long term health of the institution, with annual giving, endowment giving, planned giving and bequests each forming a part of the whole.

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