Finer points of fundraising shared with faculty and staff


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (December 4, 2013) – Faculty and staff gathered Wednesday to learn about fundraising and helping to bolster Tuskegee University’s current capital campaign. 


Walter “Sonny” Deriso, chairman of Atlantic Capital Bank and member of the Board of Trustees for Emory University, was a special guest speaker for the information session. Deriso shared some of his experience with capital campaigns, including one that raised more than $1.6 billion for Emory University. 

Acting Tuskegee University President Dr. Matthew Jenkins said it was imperative that the audience learned about fundraising in order to help the university compete with others for donations. He also said it was important that Tuskegee’s capital campaign be a collective effort by all entities and stakeholders. 

“When it comes time for you to do your part, you have to step up to the plate,” Jenkins told the audience in the Brimmer Hall auditorium. “We are all in this together.”

In his remarks, Deriso mirrored some of Jenkins points. The speaker said all areas of the university community should give input and assess what is needed so that information can help form the basis of a fundraising strategy. He also said fundraising efforts should be coordinated together, especially when approaching important potential donors.

“You want to engage your volunteers and alums so they can help you in making calls and getting you to the people you want to get to,” Deriso said. 

Deriso said everyone on campus, no matter his or her background or position, can aid the capital campaign. 

“Everyone knows someone who is a potential donor. Everybody can participate,” Deriso said. “The key to fundraising is relationships. People give because they are asked.

He also said formulating the correct approach is critical to having engaged donors. He said people donate to causes that are important to them and that a campaign must outline why giving is an important investment in making the world a better place. 

“Donors are motivated by the quality and success of a program not by its needs,” Deriso said. “People give to a program that they have a stake in its success.”

Audience learns about fundraising.

© 2013 Tuskegee University

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