What is a campus for? For discovery to make tomorrow

What Matters

As we head back to campus, we see the unfolding of a grand experiment that will influence the future of higher education and the generation that is forming itself through an unprecedented college pandemic experience. I await with great anticipation what our students will make of it, especially at a time when we see our civic lives through new eyes. 

There is much uncertainty ahead, but Indiana University has been planning and preparing so thoroughly that I am looking forward to what will certainly be an academic year like no other, one in which we will learn quite a bit if we open ourselves to discovery.

As we engage online, in-person, and in hybrid formats, we are prepared to be nimble and attuned to the evolving science of the virus, its spread, and the various responses to it that are readjusting our social, economic, and cultural understandings.

Philanthropy will play a key role, including the many ways our research finds how donors and volunteers are stepping up to help. There is strength and hope in generosity. There is a wonderful power in looking at what you have to contribute in times of distress.

I think our emerging generations are brimming with such expectations that they and the institutions that make up the world should exhibit such strength. This is what our alumnus Derrick Feldmann recently conveyed in our conversation about his new book on “the corporate social mind.”

Some commentators are worried that we have a youth generation obsessed with grievance. I would be worried if these complaints were being made at the point of a gun or in search of vengeance. But what I see is more the kinds of grievance we read of in the Declaration of Independence; charges of injustice advanced against positions and practices that have become sites of permanent and unfair advantage in society. And our aggrieved are not waiting to be rescued; they are doing something about it. Consider, for example, the youthful organizers for the Movement for Black Lives. 

As we reconvene here in Indiana and around the country, we have new material to test our most cherished personal and communal commitments. New York University’s professor Kwame Anthony Appiah suggests that the true face of freedom wears a mask, and this is only suggestive of the interpretive work our community will do to make sense of the pandemic and what it reveals.

We are right to focus on classes and whether they will be delivered in synchronous or asynchronous formats, how socially distant face-to-face classes will function with face coverings, work to arrange virtual internship experiences, hold intensive faculty office hours at a distance, and encourage as much innovative community building as can be mediated by virtual means.

And even though some aspects of the “co-curriculum” will be able to migrate online, most extracurricular activities that rely on close physical proximity will be put on hold. We will learn how much we miss and value them when we emerge from the pandemic. And as with so much else, the pandemic will lay bare more about the value of these activities and how they should resume in the aftermath.

We are continuing to welcome leading practitioners to join us for vital discussions that are open to all. Helene Gayle from the Chicago Community Trust and Fay Twersky from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation join us this month, and Brian Gallagher of United Way is on deck for September.  

Our campuses have been some of the most long-standing institutions in our country, and some people expect campuses to reproduce similar experiences for generations of students, or at least to weave threads of coherent continuity that can bind us across generations. Many of our campuses arose because of community or individual philanthropy, entrusting future generations with the legacies of what they had to give the world. 

Yet, enshrining one’s legacy without opening it to tomorrow’s needs can be an elusive quest. Just as there is remembrance, there is loss and forgetting, and reinterpretation and recreation to suit evolving circumstances. The best one can do is to articulate values that will be taken up by the next generation and trust that one has done good work to prepare them for the challenges they will face.

In this process, learning with them and interpreting what shared values mean in contemporary circumstances is a wonderful way of getting a glimpse into how one’s actual legacy might be carried into the future. Generous engagement with youthful ferment is an alternative I much prefer to disengaged resistance that dismisses novel learnings and challenging interpretations of once venerated histories. 

The easy dismissals we hear too often promise to bring back another echo from the civic upheavals of the past century; the generation gap. Maybe the lack of generational dialogue then has something to do with the fact that we are now revisiting issues that were pushed into dormancy for too many of us.

So, we are back to campus as we wonder how civic roles will emerge in the pandemic context, with faces seen on screens or covered by masks in person. This is where our youth are learning how we got here and deciding where they want to go.

We at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy are fortunate to be living an experiment that focuses on the giving sentiment that seems to play a positive role connecting generations, in weaving together the institutions that make venerated principles and values comprehensible across multiple generations. But beyond that I feel fortunate to be on a campus in whatever formats it manifests itself; to be involved with the next generation as it makes the legacies we carry forward their own.

As I consider the nearly 4,000 college campuses in our country I marvel at the plurality of experience we will see, and yet we still have a common language to listen to each other across this difference, if we choose to engage it with generosity.

At a time when our sources of civic information and news are reduced to a polarized, national sameness and local news sources disappear, our campuses may serve as anchors for local communities to find ways of being generous with differing interpretations of our legacies at the same time as we wrestle with how to support emerging generations as they take them forward.

At our school, a group of doctoral students is leading us in developing a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee to help us work to become anti-racist and to make sure that we engage issues of inclusion as a community, beyond the current institutional commitments that may be inadequate to the moment.

It is something we are embracing as an opportunity for discovery, confident that generous listening will allow each and every one to feel fully embraced by our community with the anticipation that it will help those who follow us thrive and become even more of what we hope for them.

Best regards,

Dean Amir Pasic

Amir Pasic
Eugene R. Tempel Dean

How online learning can help prepare students for a stronger professional future

student working online

By Kelly R. Young

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has disrupted our lives and changed the way we work, learn, live, and play.

Prevalent in education is the significant shift to online learning. Although this shift has been a growing trend for years (we have been teaching online courses for nearly a decade at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy), we have certainly seen a significant increase in online learning during the pandemic.

While there are downsides, there are also many doors being opened and experiences gained by students who are embracing online learning; opportunities and benefits other students may not gain in the traditional classroom setting.

Let’s look at the area of getting ready for the workplace. Online learning can provide students with valuable skills that will help prepare them for a competitive workplace. Today’s employers look for individuals who demonstrate these skills and attributes: 1) self-motivation, 2) time management, 3) adaptability, and 4) clear communication. These traits–and more–can be gained through online learning.

For the most part, online students are learning on their own. There’s no pressure to actually show up to a physical classroom or even see the instructor in person. This requires the student to stay motivated and practice self-discipline to be successful.

These qualities are attractive and valuable to an employer who often wants a self-motivated employee who doesn’t require constant handholding or reminders about tasks that need to be completed. Self-motivation and accountability, once conquered, are remarkable skills to possess in the workforce. And life.

Time management
Time is one of those things we just can’t get enough of. It is possible to manage time; it just means working more efficiently. By being in control of their own learning and pace, online students are figuring out how to effectively manage their time.

Employers in every industry are looking for employees who can make optimal use of the time available to them on the job. How often have we heard the phrase “time is money?” Saving time means saving an organization money, resulting in increased revenue; something all businesses want to achieve.

In a traditional academic environment, schedules and assignments are coordinated, structured, and predictable. Online learning provides more flexibility, but that flexibility may be marred by chaos. Unreliable internet connections, unplanned interruptions, and unforeseen changes in work and home-life schedules are just a few challenges that an online learner must quickly pivot and adjust to.

Being adaptable demonstrates the ability to manage change, be resourceful, shows analytical skills, and emphasizes leadership capabilities. These are all valuable qualities in an employee.

Communication skills
Through online learning, students develop a wider set of communication skills that are transferable to the workplace. Without in-person interaction, online students are learning to communicate more clearly–and with purpose–using emails, video and web conferencing, and online chat services. A strong array of communication skills is critical when delivering information quickly, accurately, and professionally.

These are only a few ways in which students can see long-term benefits from an extended online educational experience. There are myriad other benefits, including becoming comfortable utilizing new technologies, viewing the world as a more limitless access space to connecting with people, and mastering new, invaluable personal and professional skills.

While we all look forward to the time when we can collaborate and learn in person, there are silver linings to be found in difficult times that will better prepare students for their bright future.

Kelly Young, president of Baise Communications, is an award-winning public relations counselor with 25+ years of experience in working with nonprofit and small businesses. She has worked in nearly every capacity of public relations throughout her career and has a proven track record of success in media relations, social media, brand management, communications planning, and community relations. She has built a strong reputation within the community and is sought after for her industry expertise and thought leadership. Kelly is a natural storyteller and an enthusiastic advocate for causes.

A journey of fundraising exploration

fundraising classroom

By Abby Rolland


A word that means to raise funds. Sounds simple enough, right?

As many of you are probably aware, it’s not. As Dr. Gene Tempel, dean emeritus of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and president emeritus of IU Foundation, said, “fundraising is the difficult art of engagement.” It’s time-intensive, not easy, and often misunderstood by the general population.

How can you make sense of this “difficult art of engagement,” and also think of it as legendary fundraiser and founder of The Fund Raising School Hank Rosso defined it: “the gentle art of teaching the joy of giving.”

For one, you can take courses at The Fund Raising School. To gain a comprehensive view of fundraising, I’d suggest first working on your Certificate in Fund Raising Management (CFRM), a four-course certificate designed to give any new or experienced fundraiser a grounding in fundraising and philanthropy research, as well as in-depth information about fundraising.

In this post, I’ll take you “behind-the-scenes,” sharing insights you can use in your own fundraising work while also illustrating the benefit of this certificate program (which can be completed fully online now!)

Principles and Techniques of Fundraising
Start with the first course, the one that started it all. This course gives an in-depth, intensive look into all types of fundraising. To be honest, I actually took this course as an academic course during a full semester, as it was required for my master’s degree. However, if you take it solely with The Fund Raising School, you’ll spend four days in-person (post-COVID-19), or eight weeks online, learning about the ins and outs of fundraising.

The academic course had us dive into the work of a local nonprofit of our choice. I met with the development director and entered into assignments that included working through the fundraising cycle, developing and strengthening a case statement, discussing a budget and current funding model, developing a gift range chart (the most challenging part of the semester but also the most rewarding once it was figured out!), and drafting a letter of inquiry.

You’ll learn and do all of this in the non-academic course, but your benefit over mine? You can use your own organization as your case study!

Developing Annual Sustainability
After the first fundamental course, your course path is really up to you. I chose to design mine based on building from the fundraising pyramid up, so my second course was about the annual fund.

I took this course in-person, so it was a jammed-pack two days (which would be four weeks online). We learned all about annual fund components: physical mailings, events, digital fundraising, etc. We discussed the constituents of an annual fund and data-driven decision-making (e.g. what’s your return on investment for an event compared to a newsletter compared to social media).

One of my favorite parts of this course was analyzing real appeal letters with the other course participants. We discussed what stood out to us in the letters we liked, and how those various messages would sound to a donor or potential donor.

Developing Major Gifts
display board from fundraising courseThe next step up the fundraising pyramid: major gifts. I took this course in-person for three days (it’s six weeks online), but again, it was a full three days. We talked about organizational readiness, the fundraising cycle, the extreme importance (this is emphasized in all classes, btw) of identification, qualification, cultivation, and stewardship, and meeting the donor where she or he is.

Two important points really stood out to me about this course. One was the DiSC personality assessment. Maybe you’ve already done this, but I would highly recommend taking this “test.” It helped me not only understand myself better, but it also assisted me in working with potential donors. If you’re working with a major gift prospect, knowing or having an idea of their DiSC personality and being able to tailor your solicitation not only to their personal interests and dreams, but also to how they like to see information presented, is crucial.

The other exercise I really enjoyed was the solicitation exercise. Now, I’m sure many of you are well-versed at making an ask. I personally am not. While this practice with classmates did not include the many elements of major gift fundraising (e.g. building the relationship ahead of time), using the DiSC assessment helped my partner and me craft an appropriate and tailored ask. Receiving feedback after was also critical. Practice makes perfect, and so I think the experience could be helpful whether you’ve made a hundred asks or one.

Planned Giving: Getting the Proper Start
I had planned to take this in-person (I really like the interaction between classmates), but then COVID-19 happened and The Fund Raising School shifted all of its courses online for the time being.

However, I found this third different way of taking a course helpful in its own way. You miss the in-person interaction, but you get to communicate back and forth with classmates in discussion sessions. You do have readings, quizzes, assignments, and discussions when you take the course online and have to weave it into your daily schedule (rather than solely focusing on a course for a few days), but with understanding planned giving, I found having more time to digest the material quite helpful.

It’s complicated stuff. You’re learning about gifts that can benefit your organization now, gifts that can help later, and gifts that pay income to the donors or loved ones. We dove into material about marketing and managing a comprehensive planned gift program.

I discovered though, that there are so many ways to connect with donors and help them fulfill their charitable and personal desires. Do they want to donate a specified income amount to charity now and then after they pass, have the trust revert to their heirs? Talk to them about a charitable lead trust. Do they have a life insurance policy that they don’t have use for anymore? They can make the charity a beneficiary, or a beneficiary and owner of that policy. They can even donate property like a house that they’re living in and want to stay in, but then goes to the charity after the donors pass (life estate).

Simply put, donors can leave a bequest. It’s simple language that can be included in their will bequest, and since there’s a large transfer of wealth that will occur very soon, it’s important to have.

So there you go. Four courses to increase your knowledge of fundraising. You can also take Managing the Capital Campaign, instead of one of the three I did (Annual Sustainability, Major Gifts, Planned Giving). Whether you’re a new fundraiser or experienced one, these courses and the many others offered by The Fund Raising School will help base your fundraising in thorough research moving forward.

Abby Rolland has her master’s degree in philanthropic studies and her Certificate in Fund Raising Management. She currently serves as a fellow at The Patterson Foundation.

Bring The Fund Raising School straight to your laptop

TFRS at your desk

If you’ve ever attended a course from The Fund Raising School, you know that the classroom experience is one of quality learning, practical know-how, skilled professionals and collegial connections that can be lifelong. When the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way the world did business, so did The Fund Raising School. 

The team quickly mobilized to offer TFRS@YourDesk, a series of offerings that keep the same core experience as the in-person classes, but offered in an online format. The menu includes free weekly podcasts, a monthly free presentation of “Fridays with The Fund Raising School,” online course offerings, and a Crisis Response Scholarship to help people impacted financially by the pandemic. 

Check out courses we’re offering this fall and sharpen your skills in fundraising. Crisis Response Scholarships are available for these courses but space is limited. Don't wait to register!

  • Principles & Techniques of Fundraising, October 26-December 18 (Online): Maximize your fundraising success through this timeless course that teaches the tried-and-true practical skills of effective fundraising.
  • Digital Fundraising, October 5-16 (Online): This course reviews the array of tools available for connecting with your donors online—including email, websites, Facebook, Twitter, crowdfunding, images, video, and mobile.
  • Developing Annual SustainabilityOctober 12-November 6 (Online): Learn and strengthen the fundraising skills that can sustain your organization including direct mail, online giving, major gifts, and special events.
  • Effective Marketing for Successful FundraisingOctober 14-16 (Indianapolis): When marketing and fundraising work together effectively, donors receive consistent, compelling messages that build trust and understanding. You will learn to use marketing as a strategic management tool for fundraising, including creating print, digital, and event-based strategies to meet specific goals, communicating messages to media outlets effectively, and measuring organizational needs and effectiveness.
  • Fundraising for Small NonprofitsNovember 2-20 (Online): Based on the best practices of fundraisers who have enjoyed success at small nonprofits, this course provides you with the time-saving methods designed for smaller nonprofits with one (or fewer!) full-time fundraisers.
  • Developing Major Gifts, November 9-December 18 (Online): Raise more money by receiving more major gifts. Identify and utilize your own communication strengths when meeting with donors to develop major gifts and increase your fundraising success.