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Majors & Degrees

University advancement staff to share fundraising knowledge

May 8, 2019

Two members of University Advancement at Dakota State University will be attending conferences this summer to give presentations on fundraising.

Jill Ruhd, development officer, and Jona Schmidt, director of major and planned gifts, will be giving two presentations at the Mid-America Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP) in Wichita, Kan. in May. One presentation, “Power of the Purse,” will focus on women in philanthropy and the other, “The Four R’s of Major Giving,” will focus on the basics of fundraising.

“Women have historically not been targeted by fundraising,” said Schmidt. This presentation shifts that focus, because women do hold wealth. “You’re losing out on 50% of the fundraising audience if you don’t do specific fundraising toward women,” Schmidt said.

“Nowadays women are head of the household along with the men,” Ruhd added.

This presentation is inspired by a Power of the Purse event that Ruhd and Schmidt created a few years ago. That event featured First Lady of South Dakota Linda Daugaard and Shantel Krebs, Secretary of State of South Dakota and DSU alumna, according to Ruhd.

They also featured information that may interest female donors like existing programs and scholarships at the event. CybHER, a DSU program that works to empower, motivate, and educate girls in cybersecurity, is an area that would directly benefit females – future and current students. Another is a single parent scholarship that was created by a single parent alumna of Dakota State.

The other presentation will highlight the four R’s of major giving – relationships, research, request, and recognition, with bonus Rs – review and repeat. This presentation is Fundraising 101 for organizations that may not have done a lot of large or targeted gift fundraising in the past, Schmidt explained.

Emma DeVos, the software vendor for Dakota State Foundation’s database Engage, assists with many of their presentations discussing how information from donors is integrated into the database, Schmidt said.

Ruhd and Schmidt have found attending these conferences beneficial for several reasons. It offers a way to get information about Dakota State out to a wider audience, share fundraising lessons from DSU, and is an opportunity to learn from others in fundraising across a variety of industries.

“You learn your profession through the peer-to-peer learning, since there’s not really a school for what we do,” Schmidt said.

Additionally, it enables Ruhd and Schmidt to visit Dakota State donors who live near conference locations. They will be visiting two donors on their trip to Wichita, Kan., which allows them to build and strengthen relationships in addition to the conference learning. 

Ruhd and Schmidt will be giving these presentations this summer at another AFP event in Rapid City S.D., a church in Rapid City S.D., and Kansas Independent Colleges Association in Kansas City.