As we start the new semester, it’s time to look ahead to what 2017 may have in store for community college development efforts. If you are considering a major gifts campaign for the near future, you may be interested in what I’ve seen as emerging priorities to consider as initiatives.
As always, scholarships, both cash and endowed are always important. Helping students is a priority for many of your potential campaign investors. Also, with a new administration on the horizon we’re not sure what level of federal support may exist in the future for students. There may be significant changes in Pell and guaranteed student loans, so locally raised scholarship dollars may become increasingly important.
Also, I think that brick and mortar projects will continue to be difficult. While it’s still possible to raise funding for new construction or facility renovation, I believe it will need to be tied to a specific purpose that can be shown to directly impact regional economic or workforce development.
I believe that most successful initiatives will be related to program development. Programs that support private sector development and/or programs that will help future students transition to and succeed in higher education will have growing appeal. These include:
- Initiatives in Career and Technical Programs
- Energy related
- Alternative energy technologies
- Emerging carbon technologies
- Advanced manufacturing
- Health care
- Hospitality and tourism
- Cyber security
- Initiatives in Transfer Programs
- Global enterprise
- Transportation technologies
- Initiatives Supporting Student Success
- Middle school career camps
- Student success centers
- Tutoring and mentoring programs
- Initiatives supporting college and private sector partnerships
- Workforce development centers
As always, I strongly recommend that before you initiate any major gifts campaign you first conduct a feasibility study to test potential initiatives, dollar amounts, and areas of support. I also urge you to consider conducting a community summit that would involve community leaders, business leaders, and other key stakeholders to test specific areas of economic and workforce development priorities for your region. RGS would be happy to help you identify and conduct these summits. Combining summits with a feasibility study significantly strengthens your campaign planning.