Stanford Seniors Raise $280,000 for University Fund

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The Stanford University class of 2000 raised a record-breaking $280,000 for the Stanford Fund for Undergraduate Education. The campaign, which included a direct mail effort, earned the university the No. 19 spot in The Chronicle of Philanthropy's 10th annual Philanthropy 400 survey.

Sixty percent of the fund goes to student financial aid and 40 percent to undergraduate teaching and learning initiatives such as courses, seminars and research.

The student fundraising program was created through the department of student development, which is part of the fund. Fundraising efforts included phone calls and a direct mail campaign.

"Each year we have a group of students who organize a student-centered fundraising campaign for the Stanford fund," said Caitlin Ryan, director of student development. "Four to five seniors are gift chairs. They run the campaign with a committee of 15 to 20 seniors who help them. The chairs work with the staff of the department of student development. They set goals for what they want to achieve and decide how they will get to those goals."

For the direct mail campaign, the students sent out 1,500 letters, one to every senior, explaining why the senior gift is important, what the fund is, where the money goes and why it's important for them to contribute.

Fifteen percent of the gifts that the fund received came through the mail, Ryan said. Because the same return card was sent through the mail and handed out by the students personally, there was no way of telling how the donors received the cards.

In 1999, 76 percent of Stanford seniors made donations. This year the figure was 78 percent.

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