On Board: Balancing the Annual Campaign
and Endowment Building

By Michael Rubin
originally published in HaYidion Magazine, October 2018

My experience is that one can actually help the other. Many sophisticated donors actually like the idea of being asked to give to short-term operating needs and the long-term picture through endowment. The key is knowing the giving history and likes/dislikes of the potential donor, making an appointment to see that person, and using language like, “You’ve been caring and generous with your annual support in the past, which has allowed us to provide scholarships, acquire technology, and retain and attract the best faculty. But we’d also like to ensure that our school will be financially sound for children in the next generation. So we’re launching an endowment effort to raise $X million. Those funds will generate a permanent stream of annual income to respond to unforeseen opportunities, building maintenance and other priorities. It’s vital to do both. We respectfully ask you to consider maintaining your annual support while investing in the future of our school with a special endowment gift of $Y, to be fulfilled over a five-year period.”

So it’s common to ask for an annual gift and an endowment gift at the same time—and we’ve seen success with a well-thought-through approach for both. Our school launched a $5 million endowment campaign through the Prizmah Generations program, while continuing to raise nearly $1 million for annual support. The endowment effort is at $4.2 million and approaching goal.