December 17, 2020 – Held via Zoom
Meeting started at 7:35pm.
21 alumni participated.
Rob Marano (Annual Fund Committee Chair) opened the meeting. Rob Marano discussed the request for Council members to donate and noted that Rob, Margaret Matz, and Anna Brook would contribute a combined $25 for each Council member who donates from now until the end of the year. There was discussion that the number of alumni giving is important and there is a need to increase participation.
Mark A. Vasquez suggested that messaging should focus on having 100% Council participation to lead by example. He also mentioned setting up recurring giving so that people can be counted as donors throughout the year.
Yvette Francis mentioned that those who did not give may have reasons this year for not giving. Rob said that is why the call for Council donations asked for as low as $1 and offered to match the donation with $25. Yvette suggested that it is possible to increase pressure to donate next year but should be sensitive next year.
Barry Drogin said that alumni who volunteer their time should be counted in alumni giving numbers and they should be given credit. He asked if it would be ok for other council members to give on behalf of those who did not donate. Rob said this was a good idea.
Cristina Ross suggested planning a fundraising campaign around Peter Cooper’s birthday in February, and that the request for Council donations seemed rushed. Margaret explained that the campaigns for donating were being coordinated with the Office of Alumni Affairs.
Laura Spinner noted that the Council should be sensitive with asking for donations this year. She said that there needs to be more coordination with the school. Margaret responded that the fundraising request was coordinated with the school.
Mary Lynch said that the messaging was always to have 100% Council participation by the end of the fiscal year and that the change in messaging was a deviation from previous practice.
Jennifer Collins suggested building a campaign around a story based on sentiment, or the shared experience at Cooper Union, it could have success. One idea is “a penny for your thoughts” where alumni can make a donation and share their experiences.
Mark A. Vasquez agreed with Barry that “giving” should have a broader meaning than just money and those who are giving their time should be acknowledged. Margaret agreed that it is important to recognize time. Mark said that Barry’s idea of donating on someone’s behalf would be great for increasing participation. Barry noted that artists could potentially donate work for auction. There are different ways to donate.
Margaret said that the participation increase was a good sign.
Robert Kudder noted that there is a time lag between when a donation goes out and when it is counted by the school.
Anna Brook noted that many alumni may not be aware of the fiscal year and consider a donation from early in the calendar year as counting towards the fiscal year.
Margaret asked Yvette Francis to report on the card writing campaign for elderly alumni. Yvette said the cards went out and thanked the volunteers who participated.
Jennifer Collins suggested that Peter Cooper’s birthday could be a time for a campaign, perhaps involving Jello (especially if someone has a connection with Kraft-Heinz).
Yvette asked if there could be a list or organized way to have people work on projects that need to be done.
Anna Brook moved to adjourn. Rob Marano seconded the motion. The meeting adjourned at 8:48pm.