Last VP for advancement candidate speaks about fundraising experience
For Patrick Kramer, securing a major gift from a donor starts with a conversation.
“You can get loyalty gifts by calling them on the phone, sending them direct mail, but you don’t get true philanthropy, true deep philanthropy, until you have a conversation,” Kramer said.
Kramer was the last candidate to visit campus in UI’s search for the next vice president for advancement. Kramer currently serves as the associate vice president of development operations at the University of Colorado.
Finishing up a day of interviews and meetings around campus, Kramer spoke about his experience in university advancement and took questions from staff members at an open forum.
Kramer, a Washington State University alumnus, said he loves the Palouse and feels comfortable on UI’s campus.
“This is more home to me than basically anywhere I’ve been,” he said. “So I’d be good to come back to this region, and I think the University of Idaho has a lot of potential.”
Kramer congratulated the UI fundraising staff on the successful completion of the Inspiring Futures campaign. He said UI should continue to keep donors interested in the university by coming up with mini campaigns.
In preparation for the next major campaign, he said UI should gather information on what funds donors used to give to the university.
“When you had giving at the highest level, do you think it was asset giving or do you think it was discretionary giving?” Kramer said.
Kramer said UI should find ways to engage and market to different parts of the alumni community, from young alumni to retirees.
“I get the sense that most alums at the University of Idaho are proud to be Vandals, and so how do you play on that?” he said.
Kramer said it is key for younger development officers to have experienced mentors to teach them the ins and outs of asking for gifts, and to help them along in reaching their professional goals.
In his current position at the University of Colorado, Kramer oversees multiple fundraising programs, including Planned Gifts and Marketing,
Kramer started at Colorado in 2008 as vice president of development, campaigns and development operations. In the position, he was responsible for leading and managing a $1.5 billion fundraising campaign.
Although he oversaw a large fundraising campaign at Colorado, Kramer said the same discipline and strategy still applies to smaller, more concentrated campaigns. Overall, Kramer said major campaigns often include strong leadership from university managers and a lot of hard work from development officers.
“Some universities just have the ability to put more zeros behind gifts,” he said.
Before Colorado, Kramer spent 14 years at WSU. He started as a program assistant, but quickly moved to a development coordinator position in the College of Engineering and Architecture.
“It really gave me my first experience of going out and talking with donors,” Kramer said.
Kramer rose in rank at WSU to become the associate vice president for constituency development, where he travelled across the state to work with development officers at various WSU extension campuses, he said.
Kramer said he see a tremendous amount of potential for growth in UI’s future, with strong state support compared to other states.
“U of I has the greatest potential out there,” he said.