Donation programs maintain impact

Though the priority points system has gained recent attention in the media,  other Butler University giving programs remain strong and effective ways to gain university donations.

Butler raked in $12,904,790 in donations last year.

The Collegian recently published articles on the changes made to the Bulldog Club’s priority points program.

Executive director of development Wendy Harlow and vice president for advancement Mark Helmus said in a joint email that the priority points program is only one of the many ways for donors to support the university.

These various programs account for the nearly $13 million earned through donations in the 2010-11 school year.

Though the success of the men’s basketball team has raised speculation that donations to the university will increase, Harlow and Helmus said the total donation amount has increased only marginally.

“From a dollar standpoint, total giving has changed very little,” the email stated. “Last year was an increase over the prior two, ranking as the seventh-best year in Butler’s history.”

Harlow and Helmus said the 2010-11 school year also set a university record for the number of alumni donors at 6,286. This is the first time the number has surpassed 6,000.

Harlow and Helmus said part of this increase is due to the priority points system.

“It has clearly had a positive impact on donations to athletics and has certainly contributed to the increased number of alumni donors mentioned above,” the email said.

They said, however, the Butler Fund—which is the unrestricted annual fund—has decreased about 25 percent since the 2006-07 fiscal year.

“It is impossible to attribute this decline to the Bulldog Club, priority points or any other singular issue,” the email stated.

Harlow and Helmus said they have received a number of questions, concerns, suggestions and complaints in regards to the Butler Fund program.

Harlow and Helmus wrote they would say the decrease is most likely due to the weak economy during the last three years and a national trend of declining, unrestricted giving.

In addition, they said donors are now more likely to “direct or restrict” their giving to a specific area of interest, such as to a certain program, college, organization or department.

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