Communications and Donor Relations

The Office of Communications and Donor Relations (COMDOR) supports MIT's fundraising efforts with web content, publications, marketing initiatives, stewardship of donors, and cultivation of prospects. In FY2003, the staff focused on explaining the rationale for raising the campaign goal, continuing to improve stewardship and cultivation efforts, and strengthening the case for supporting key campaign priorities.

Donor Relations

The Donor Relations staff continued to build the stewardship program to inform donors about the effect of their philanthropy and tailor activities to engage high-end donors. Customized stewardship plans are now in place for 725 of MIT's most generous donors and include the production of approximately 800 personal gift acknowledgement letters from the president and the provost. In collaboration with Student Financial Services, COMDOR produced approximately 260 annual reports to donors of individual scholarship funds and major donors of class scholarship funds. As a result of COMDOR's reminder program, FY2003 saw an increase of 4 percent in the number of students who either met or thanked their donors than did so in FY2002. In addition, COMDOR staff began preparing brief profiles of 264 scholarship donors or honorees to appear on the Student Financial Services web site.

Membership in the Catalyst Society, open to campaign donors of $100,000 or more, increased by 43 to 477. Senior officers, faculty, volunteers, or staff presented Catalyst Society gifts to 46 members.

The Donor Relations staff coordinated roughly 45 cultivation and stewardship events including groundbreakings, a campus visit, Technology Breakfasts in Cambridge and California, Chairman's Salons, stewardship events, and dinners in private homes. COMDOR managed the communications and logistic planning and support of "An Exponential Occasion," a mid-campaign celebration for approximately 460 guests involving participation in building dedications, tours, a reception and dinner, plenary and breakout sessions, as well as a scholarship brunch for 33 donors and 30 scholarship recipients.


The Communications staff prepared two new brochures, which received national awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE): Beyond the Leading Edge, created in collaboration with the MIT Sloan School, and Why Not? created in collaboration with Student Financial Services to promote giving to undergraduate scholarships.

The Communications staff also updated three earlier publications: Magnetic Destinations, a promotional piece for MIT's building and renovation projects; Ways of Giving, which covers opportunities in gift planning; and a campaign brief celebrating the accomplishment of the $1.5 billion campaign goal two years early and explaining the rationale and emphasis of the increased goal.

In an ongoing effort to market campaign priorities and recognize donors, the Communications Office published three issues each of Spectrum and (CR)2, redesigned Donor Profiles, published 7–10 times a year in Technology Review, provided electronic updates to the Resource Development/Alumni Association "Giving to MIT" web site, and produced the monthly email newsletter, Fast Facts, which keeps campaign volunteers up-to-date on fundraising and campus developments.

Pamela Dumas Serfes

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