How Community Colleges Fundraise to Improve Campuses

Learn about how fund raising efforts are boosting community college campus environments.
Community colleges receive a majority of their funding from tuition costs and student payments. Despite this income, however, community colleges across the country still strongly depend on effective fundraising venues and actions to boost the campus environment, programs, and academic offerings. As Council for Advancement and Support of Education asserts, “With economic stagnation and diminished tax revenues depleting the coffers of state and local governments nationwide, America’s community colleges must look beyond the public sector to fund their educational missions.” 
According to expert advisors and academic leaders, successful community college fundraising actions can help boost a school’s appealing qualities, student opportunities, and overall institutional successes.
The Current State of Fundraising Affairs
According to Community College Times, many community colleges could improve their overall successes by implementing more effective fundraising strategies and actions. As Donald Summers, an expert fundraising consultant with experience with working in community college development offices, asserts: “‘To my mind, nothing would be better for American democracy and education than for community colleges to rake in the billions they deserve.’” Community colleges often primarily strive to provide current and potential students with accessible and affordable courses and programs, but many community colleges struggle to bring in enough money to create sustainable and competitive programs. 
As Summers further argues, local governors need to become more attentive to the fundraising abilities of appointed board members, who need to become more active in the fundraising actions of community college institutions. As Community College Times further explains, the board members appointed by governors “Are integral to the planning and implementation of fundraising initiatives,” as “They advocate before government officials on behalf of the institution and helped in developing critical partnerships with both individuals and business entities that have lent support to the college.”
Adding to the potential influences of appointed board members, Council for Advancement and Support of Education further argues that community college presidents must more fervently turn to trustees and foundations for support. By assigning advancement officers with specific tasks of seeking out external revenue sources, community colleges may be able to encounter more grants, scholarships, and private donations. 
As the Council continues to explain, “Whether in the form of gifts or grants, private support is needed to help bridge the gap between what public funding, at best, can provide and what excellence in community-based education and training now demands.”
Fundraising Actions and Initiatives
The Community College Times further argues that fundraising for community colleges needs to be professionally coordinated and based on a plan “that pulls together the contributions of all players in an organized, coordinated way.” These efforts can be streamlined with the support of political leaders, private lenders, and actions initiated by appointed leaders of the community college institutions. 
In examining the Community College Times’ investigation of Summers and his fundraising evaluations, the Times illuminates the effectiveness, for example, of government support for community college fundraising. Specifically, in the case of Florida, government leaders agreed to match a specific percentage of revenue raised by the community college through fundraising efforts. As a result, according to data from the past decade, the state of Florida has provided approximately $440 million dollars over the course of 10 years in matched funds to community colleges who enrolled in the fundraising matching program! 
Also, aligning with Summers’ arguments for fundraising reform at the community college level, the Philanthropy Journal similarly supports the concept of fundraising renovations and shifts. According to the Journal’s report, Johnston Community College (JCC), located in Smithfield, North Carolina, faced a serious conflict when officials realized that the school had only 77 endowment funds, 37 of which only totaled less than $10,000 a piece. After revamping its fundraising efforts by offering private donors greater incentives to provide scholarships and grants, JCC increased their fixed assets from $2 million to $4.5 million. Adding to this, one foundation even increased their previous endowment of $190,000 to $330,000! 
Successful fundraising efforts can help community colleges increase their student enrollment, creating funding for student support and more extensive academic programs.

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