UMSL earns CASE award for exceptional fundraising efforts

CASE Awards

UMSL’s donor-centric approach helped the university win a 2020 CASE Educational Fundraising Award. The university received an Overall Improvement award in the category for Public Research/Doctoral Institutions with Endowments Under $215 Million. (Photo from Council for Advancement and Support of Education)

While the hard work done in higher education is often its own reward, the University of Missouri–St. Louis has again earned recognition from its peers – this time for its fundraising efforts.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education, an international association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf, has honored UMSL with a 2020 CASE Educational Fundraising Award. The university won an Overall Improvement award in the category for Public Research/Doctoral Institutions with Endowments Under $215 Million. The award goes to colleges and universities that demonstrate significant program growth across the three years of data.

“The leadership that we have in key positions within Advancement has come together to understand the task at hand,” Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Paul Herring said. “We’ve been able to pull together and work well to elevate our Advancement office to accommodate societal needs but also the needs of the region and workforce. It’s great to be recognized for putting it together.”

Herring added that during a time of transition – with Kristin Sobolik recently taking over as chancellor and the move to online learning amid a pandemic – it’s been important to align donors and constituents with the priorities of the university. That’s been achieved by an intentional focus on listening during outreach.

“I think aligning ourselves with UMSL’s strategic plan and the priorities of the university and getting everyone to look through that prism has been important,” Herring said. “Being able to share that with our donors and then to allow our donors to tell us where they want to invest within those priorities has been very critical in us having success, not just raising money but also with engagement.”

The annual fundraising awards recognize exemplary advancement and development programs based on a blind review of data submitted to CASE. Member institutions are eligible for four awards – Award of Excellence, Overall Improvement, Overall Performance and Sustained Excellence – in several descriptive categories. CASE members consider a variety of factors when selecting winners including total funds raised, patterns of growth, giving areas, alumni participation and more.

This award continues the recent success of University Advancement. In December, the Annual Giving Network named UMSL one of 10 winners of the organization’s 2019 Challenge. AGN recognized the university for its outreach to donors to the Finish Your Degree Scholarship. The Annual Giving office capitalized on a Ladue News story about the scholarship, adapting the coverage to create memorable thank-you gifts.

Herring knows there’s more work to be done going forward, but he’s confident his team is up to the task.

“I didn’t come up with this, it was Harry Truman, but my philosophy is it’s amazing what you can achieve when you don’t care who gets the kudos for it,” he said. “That’s the approach that I’m trying to make part of our culture here. When you work together as a team, you can accomplish much more when you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Follow the link for a complete list of award winners:


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