Trustee Recruitment and Engagement at Small, Private Liberal Arts Colleges

Strategies to Identify Prospective Board Members and Communicate Expectations of Financial Contributions

Topics: Major Gifts and Campaign Strategy, Advancement, Donor and Prospect Relations

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Chief advancement officers at small, private liberal arts institutions face increasing pressure to rely on high-value donors and board members to meet institutional fundraising goals. This brief profiles strategies to identify, recruit, and onboard trustees with institutional affinity and giving capacity. This brief also profiles strategies to communicate expectations for financial contributions and maintain trustee engagement throughout their tenure.

Research Questions

  • How do administrators identify prospective trustees?
  • What criteria do they use to evaluate prospective trustees (e.g., ability to give, institutional affinity) and what is the relative weight or significance of these criteria?
  • What are the standard expectations for annual financial contributions of trustees?
  • What language do contacts offer to describe these obligations?
  • What metrics do institutional staff track to evaluate trustee engagement and giving?