SMWC receives national honor for fundraising efforts

October 28th, 2016 | SMWC

The SMWC Office of Advancement: (L-R) Top: Karen Dyer, Joel Yoder, Heather Newman and Kristy Fry. Middle: Ellen Cunningham, SP, ‘61 and Dee Reed ’08. Bottom: Sue Weatherwax, Dianne Frances Powell, Susan Turner ‘14G, Andee Swick ‘03, Mikayla Metheny ‘16.

The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) Office of Advancement is already celebrating a successful year; both at the College and on a national level.

In September 2016, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awarded SMWC and Karen Dyer, vice president for Advancement, the 2016 CASE Sustained Excellence Award in Fundraising. In a letter from CASE to the College the honor is described as one that, “recognizes those few exemplary fundraising programs that have garnered a CASE Award for Educational Fundraising in either Overall Performance or Overall Improvement in three of the last five years.”

“Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has not only demonstrated the highest levels of professionalism and best practice in its fundraising efforts, it has contributed to the betterment of educational advancement worldwide.”

CASE is a professional association serving educational institutions and the professionals who work in departments like alumni relations, communications, development and marketing. The organization works to help colleges build stronger relationships with alumni and donors through programs like fundraising, campus projects, recruitment, marketing and public relations.

The Educational Fundraising Awards has been honoring colleges and organizations since 1959. The award looks at significant program growth across three years of data. Institutions are evaluated within peer groups, using different size and type classifications.

Organizations which belong to CASE are automatically eligible for the award. Dyer says the award gives credit and accolades to the handful of staffers working on fundraising and alumni relations.

“We have a small fundraising team and we work hard,” Dyer explains. “Receiving this award is an affirmation of the wonderful relationships we have with the community and our alums. This feels good because to us this says we are going in the right direction; the alums care and are passionate about the institution.”

Dyer and her team already knew they were doing well, even before the CASE award. According to a study conducted by the US News and World Report, the national percentage of higher education donations has decreased over the last several years, but SMWC reports higher than average alumni donations.

“Last year, we met our giving goals and this year we increased giving goals and have been successful,” Dyer says. In our minds, this is the alumni saying ‘We support the institution, we believe in you and where the institution is going in the future.’ To have their support means everything.”

Taylor University, located in Upland, also ranked in the Private Liberal Arts Institutions category. St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame was also recognized in a different category.

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