OSU fundraising chief on aggressive $4.5B campaign: ‘I hoped to be farther along’

Columbus Business First

COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST)–Ohio State University has to raise nearly $1.8 billion more before it meets its aggressive goal for its latest fundraising campaign, a feat that’s been made more difficult because of Covid-19 and other headwinds.

The university is trying to raise $4.5 billion from 1 million donors through its Time and Change campaign. The campaign was announced in October 2019 and at that time, it already had raised $1.7 billion from 500,000 donors through a quiet phase.

Nearly two years later, the campaign has raised $2.65 billion from 590,698 donors.

“Quite frankly, I hoped to be farther along,” senior vice president for advancement Michael Eicher told university trustees last week.

The fundraising campaign is raising money for research, student support, academic programs, and more.

“We knew that fiscal year 2021 was going to be a challenging year from a fundraising and engagement perspective,” Eicher said.

We reported last year that as of Sept. 30, 2020, the university had raised $2.19 billion from 551,353 donors.

Between Covid-19 restricting in-person fundraising events, a leadership transition in the university president role from Michael Drake to Kristina Johnson and the departure of key staff members, fundraising has fallen behind.

“The last 17 months have been challenging and haven’t allowed us to go quite as aggressively toward that goal,” Eicher said.

He said the 2022 fiscal year, which Ohio State just entered in July, will bring positive momentum for the fundraising staff.

For example, the university is starting to see more movement in conversations to raise money for capital projects. “Those numbers seem to be really bouncing back,” Eicher said.

For more business headlines, go to ColumbusBusinessFirst.com.

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