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How Is Fundraising Really Going?

A correspondent with a fake e-mail address writes in combatively:

From: John Dickey “eleazor1769@gmail.com”
Date: Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 8:09 AM
Subject: campaign
To: joeasch@gmail.com

You have to stop with the doom and gloom on the campaign and at least attempt for some accuracy and research as opposed to going over the same tired complaints about Lasher again and again. All may not be perfect but alums living in Hanover know that you’re off the mark.

A lot of volunteers know that the College already passed the $1B mark last spring some time and that they will announce with over 50% raised (probably closer to 60% which is a good approach that can lead to an adjusted goal if things are going really well). Since Hanlon arrived, the college raises $250-$300M per year (used to be closer to $150M).

Inject a little reality and fewer nasty and emotional personal attacks into your posts and your cricticism [sic] may seem more on the mark.

Where to start? As we have reported in the past using the administration’s own figures, donor participation rates are falling and total fundraising revenues are both dropping and they are short of internal goals.

If the capital campaign is about raising money for capital expenditures — as opposed to soliciting gifts for the Dartmouth College Fund that supports financial aid — then Phil’s increased fundraising, which my correspondent cites as having gone from about $150M to $250M-$300M per year, amounts to only about $150M additional monies annually. At that level, Phil will be long gone from Hanover before he reaches his goal of a $2.5 billion capital campaign.

Beyond those figures, the College itself has noted that not an additional nickel has been collected for the Irving Energy Institute since the entity’s original announcement last year.

The above e-mail is the kind of head-in-the-sand rationalization that I hear on occasion from undying loyalists in Hanover and, often, on groups like the Alumni Council. These people will contort themselves into logical pretzels in support of the current administration (every current administration). They explain away any problem — like a capital campaign that is years late; Phil arrived at Dartmouth on June 8, 2013 — with convoluted reasoning that seems to always say, ‘Not only are things not bad, they are great!’

Sorry. They are not great.

Addendum: When the administration is finally able to publicly launch the capital campaign, let’s ask if money that the College has traditionally collected, like Dartmouth College Fund gifts, has been excluded from whatever total is announced. I bet that every farthing is included in the launch number in order to pump up the total figure.

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