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Institutional Advancement Practices and Guidelines


To describe practices related to institutional advancement which have proven effective and are strongly recommended.

Applies to: 

The University of Kansas, Lawrence and Medical Center Campuses

Medical Center, Kansas City
Policy Statement: 
  1. Alumni Records Practices

    In addition to following the Institutional Advancement at the University of Kansas policy, University schools/College and units can use the following practices to further enhance and use alumni biographical records:

    1. Newsletters and other publications should include response forms so that alumni may update their records and formally correspond with the KU Alumni Association and/or KU Medical Center Alumni Associations.
    2. Websites should have prominent links to the KU Alumni Association’s records department to allow for convenient electronic updating of biographical records.
    3. Posting of lost alumni by class year should be encouraged on websites, and when classmates help find these lost graduates, address information should be shared with alumni records.
    4. Returned mail with new addresses should be shared with the KU Alumni Association’s records department, either by sending the original mail piece via campus mail or by sharing old and new address information electronically.
    5. Offices that have responsibility for monitoring certification or licensing records of graduates should forward updated information to the KU Alumni Association.
    6. All University schools/College and units should emphasize to alumni the importance of membership in the KU Alumni Association and/or KU Medical Center Alumni Associations and of providing addresses and news about their lives to the appropriate Association.
    7. Recognized University offices, which have signed the Confidentiality Agreement for Use of Alumni Information System, can view computerized biographical information on their alumni and former students maintained on the Alumni/Endowment records system. Access will include the ability to view, sort data, and print reports when software acquisition and programming are complete.
    8. The KU Alumni Association shall maintain all alumni records for the KU Medical Center Alumni Associations and the KU Medical Center Alumni Associations shall forward to the KU Alumni Association updated information on its alumni.
  2. Appointment and Use of Advisory Boards for Advancement Purposes

    Advisory boards are effective when University schools/College and units clearly define board mission and duties, carefully select board members, and apply their talents appropriately. The following practices will enable these boards to be more helpful:

    1. Schools/College and units must obtain approval from their respective Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor or Executive Vice Chancellor to establish advisory boards for advancement purposes prior to developing plans or selecting candidates for membership.
    2. Administrators shall consult with the KU Alumni Association and KU Endowment before approaching prospective advisory board members.
    3. In order to assure and coordinate optimum volunteer service by alumni and friends, schools and units shall confer with the KU Alumni Association and KU Endowment presidents to review past and current University-related commitments of those individuals proposed for advisory board membership. Furthermore, schools and units should review and clearly articulate board member responsibilities to ensure that volunteers are sufficiently engaged and that their commitments are appropriate.
    4. Administrators shall forward to the KU Alumni Association and KU Endowment the names of board members and the length of their terms so that these organizations can coordinate and record their participation in local, regional and national events.
    5. When appropriate, University administrators should coordinate with KU Endowment to communicate University funding needs with an advancement board to help ensure financial participation by board members.
    6. This policy does not apply to professional groups organized for the purposes of providing consultation on topics such as curriculum, recruitment, research or program development.
  3. Coordination of Alumni and Endowment Events

    Local, regional and national activities offer opportunities for institutional advancement. These opportunities also exist at professional meetings, where the KU Alumni Association and KU Endowment and KU Medical Center Alumni Associations can coordinate with University administrators to host alumni. The following practices will increase the success of such gatherings:

    1. KU Alumni Association or KU Medical Center Alumni Associations staff should share information with administrators in late summer on the alumni events scheduled for the coming year.
    2. Administrators should make early decisions on which alumni and professional meetings they or their representatives will attend during the academic year and share these plans with the KU Alumni Association or KU Medical Center Alumni Associations and KU Endowment staff members. Faculty and staff should be encouraged to participate, as appropriate.
    3. Administrators who want to conduct meetings in conjunction with KU Alumni Association or KU Medical Center Alumni Associations activities should coordinate their plans with appropriate Alumni Association staff.
    4. Once sites are determined, travel itineraries, including flight schedules, rental car arrangements, and hotel accommodations, should be shared among University administrators and the KU Alumni Association and/or KU Medical Center Alumni Associations and/or KU Endowment staffs.
    5. University administrators should work with appropriate KU Alumni Association and/or KU Medical Center Alumni Associations staff to determine how non‑members of the KU Alumni Association might be included in activities and how they might encourage Alumni Association membership.
    6. University administrators should work with appropriate KU Alumni Association and/or KU Medical Center Alumni Associations and KU Endowment staffs to develop a multi‑year plan to visit target metropolitan areas.
    7. KU Endowment staff and University administrators should take special care when visiting with alumni and friends of the University off campus to ensure that their appointments do not interfere with attendance at KU Alumni Association or KU Medical Center Alumni Associations friend-raising events. Staff and administrators should refer to the KU Alumni Association’s Events Calendar to assist with the coordination of events and activities. KU Medical Center Alumni Associations events shall be posted on the KU Alumni Association events calendar.
  4. Advancement-Related Government Relations Practices

    The KU Alumni Association assists the University through Jayhawks for Higher Education, a voluntary grassroots group consisting of several hundred alumni and friends statewide who communicate with the Kansas Legislature about the University’s needs. Faculty, administrators and staff are often invited by Government Relations to provide information, meet with legislators or provide consultation. It is often difficult to differentiate between those activities which are institutional advancement in nature and those which are professional in nature, i.e., sharing of expertise on a topic. See the Kansas Board of Regents policy governing Interaction with the Legislature and Other State Agencies. This section emphasizes only the advancement aspects of Government Relations.

    1. The Chancellor and other key University administrators discuss KU legislative issues with the leaders of Jayhawks for Higher Education.
    2. Ideas on advancement initiatives should be explored with deans and directors who will work with their respective Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor or Executive Vice Chancellor in influencing the advancement agenda set up by the Chancellor.
    3. As an independent organization, the KU Alumni Association assists in supporting the University’s case before the Legislature.
  5. Communications Practices (e-mail and publications)

    The KU Alumni Association and KU Endowment produce independent publications to communicate with Alumni Association members, donors to KU Endowment, and other interested University constituents. These organizations coordinate with the Office of Public Affairs on these projects when appropriate. They also work with Public Affairs to produce news releases regarding alumni events and donor news.

    The KU Alumni Association coordinates with Public Affairs, KU Endowment, Kansas Athletics and the KU Memorial Unions, a comprehensive e-mail communication to graduates and friends through KU Connection, which is produced monthly.

    The KU Alumni Association will provide e-mail addresses to KU units that desire to deliver school/department specific e-mail communications. Alumni chapter leaders, acting on behalf of the KU Alumni Association, may also request access to e-mail lists to communicate alumni news and events in coordination with the Alumni Association. The KU Alumni Association E-Mail Policy applies to any person or entity using alumni e-mail lists. Schools/departments should follow University policy with regard to list confidentiality and other privacy issues (see the Privacy Office website). In addition, they should abide by e-communications best practices, including frequency of delivery, relevant content, strategic timing and, in particular, coordination with other schools and departments. Failure to do so will likely lead to a decline in readership, interest, and in the number of graduates willing to provide e-mail addresses.

    All e-mails using alumni e-mail lists must include an “opt out” opportunity and an opportunity to update their record with the KU Alumni Association – the language and the link will be provided by the KU Alumni Association. Any “non-academic” unit e-mails must be delivered on an “opt in” basis, providing an opportunity to subscribe to a regular, recurring e-mail communication. The KU Alumni Association will provide support and coordination for alumni e-mail communications.

    University schools/College and units work with the Office of Public Affairs to ensure that all communications with alumni and friends maintain consistent standards of quality in editorial content and follow the University’s visual identity standards. On the KU Medical Center campus, schools/units shall work with the Office of External Affairs. The following practices will help enhance the effectiveness of these school/College and unit publications:

    1. Newsletters should be distributed at least twice a year, at regular intervals, and websites should be updated on an ongoing basis.
    2. Stories should focus on the University’s mission of teaching, research and public service and should include appropriate information on donors and alumni events, particularly when such stories heighten awareness of student and faculty involvement with alumni.
    3. When appropriate, stories should emphasize the distinction between the KU Alumni Association’s friend‑raising role and KU Endowment’s fundraising role.
    4. As stated above, newsletters should provide response forms for alumni to provide records changes to the KU Alumni Association and should highlight the advantages of KU Alumni Association or KU Medical Center Alumni Associations membership.
    5. Information on alumni received by schools and units in the process of preparing newsletters should be shared with the KU Alumni Association.
    6. If the publication is to include information about annual giving, the school or unit should work with KU Endowment so that the publication includes timely and accurate giving details.
  6. Endowment Fund Administration Practices

    The availability of privately-contributed resources for University faculty, staff and students is the result of effective advancement activities. Proper stewardship of KU Endowment’s resources can enhance the potential for increased support.

    1. Upon the establishment of a restricted endowment fund, KU Endowment staff will provide to the appropriate University employee who is identified to recommend disbursements from the fund (the Fund Account Representative) appropriate information to guide the use of such fund resources.
    2. All responsible parties should make a concerted effort to responsibly use available resources for the best benefit of the University, in the discretion of the Fund Account Representative, in keeping with donor restrictions.
    3. Deans or administrators should communicate with KU Endowment development staff about fundraising objectives, subject to approval requirements set forth in the policy on University Fundraising.
    4. Departmental and KU Endowment publications, news releases and websites should publish articles about notable uses of endowment funds or establishment of new funds when appropriate.
    5. Because student scholarships are the most popular donor-provided resources, and because these resources are often highly scrutinized by donors and the media, scholarship funds deserve special attention to ensure they are used as effectively as possible. In addition to the above stewardship activities for all endowment funds, the following activities are emphasized for scholarship resources:
      1. Upon the establishment of a restricted scholarship, staff of KU Endowment will provide the Office of Admissions and Scholarships and the appropriate dean or administrator with the name of the scholarship, the funding level, general and specific restrictions, and any specific expectations of the donor.

        Note: Scholarships and fellowships may be paid only to aid in the pursuit of study or research and must not require the performance of any work-related duties. Any payment made for teaching, research or services required as a condition for receiving it, regardless of whether it is denoted as a scholarship, is compensation and must be handled through the payroll process.

      2. The scholarship administrator or the school/department responsible for such restricted scholarship should communicate with the Office of Admissions and Scholarships in a concerted effort to use available scholarship resources on an annual basis in keeping with the needs of students who meet the various criteria for scholarships.
      3. Deans or administrators should encourage scholarship recipients to communicate their appreciation to donors. KU Endowment maintains information, such as preferred names, which will be helpful in communicating with donors.
      4. When appropriate, University leadership, including deans and high-level administrators, should communicate directly with donors about the use of scholarship funds and the importance of scholarship resources in advancing the mission of the academic unit.
    6. Underutilized KU Endowment resources represent a lack of fiduciary responsibility to fulfill donor intent and damage donor stewardship efforts. When chronically underutilized funds are identified, KU Endowment may seek the counsel of appropriate University administrators other than the specified Fund Account Representative, to assist in ensuring the best use of contributed funds.
  7. Alumni Recognition

    The presentation of special honors and awards to recognize the accomplishments of alumni and friends serves as an effective cultivation tool in the advancement process.

    1. The KU Alumni Association currently offers three categories of awards on behalf of the University. The University of Kansas’ highest award for alumni achievements “for the betterment of society and in behalf of humanity” is the Distinguished Service Citation; the Fred Ellsworth Medallion honors “individuals who have provided unique and significant service to the University”; and the Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award recognizes “sustained volunteer service to the University at the local level.” The KU Medical Center Alumni Associations currently recognize alumni and friends in the following categories: Early Career Achievement, Honorary Alumnus and Distinguished Alumnus.
    2. Academic programs and units also recognize individual alumni through a variety of awards. These are awarded in the name of the unit as an entity within the University. The following practices will enhance the effectiveness of awards as an advancement initiative.
      1. Written guidelines and selection criteria on each award, along with the use of a selection committee, are important in conveying the significance of an award and ensuring appropriate selections. For assistance in promoting regional, national, or international awards, units should contact Public Affairs. Schools/College and units also should share lists of awards with the KU Alumni Association and KU Endowment. Schools on the Medical Center campus should contact the Office of External Affairs.
      2. After selection and awarding such honors, schools and units should notify the KU Alumni Association to assure honors are recorded in biographical records, KU Endowment to coordinate interaction with the recipient, and the Office of Public Affairs or the KU Medical Center’s Office of External Affairs, which will assist in public announcements of the awards.
      3. Public Affairs staff or KU Medical Center’s Office of External Affairs staff are available to assist units in developing news releases.
      4. The design of plaques, certificates and other awards should reflect the importance of the award but should not be extravagant. Staff members at the Office of Public Affairs or KU Medical Center’s Office of External Affairs are available for consultation.
  8. Donor Recognition

    The proper recognition of donors for their support of the University is important in the advancement process. Effective donor recognition can encourage additional gifts and prompt others to contribute. The following practices will serve to enhance donor recognition activities:

    1. Schools/College and units should thank donors through letters from administrators, faculty, students, fellow alumni and others; through stories in newsletters and other publications; and by hosting donors, their families and associates on campus or at other events and activities as appropriate.
    2. All schools and units should take care to avoid providing quid pro quo premiums to donors. The Internal Revenue Service has specific guidelines limiting the practice of providing donors with “gifts” or “premiums” in return for a charitable contribution. Unit administrators must confer with staff of KU Endowment prior to the initiation of such practices.
    3. All schools and units should coordinate donor recognition activities and events with the KU Alumni Association, KU Medical Center Alumni Associations, KU Endowment and the Office of Public Affairs or KU Medical Center’s Office of External Affairs to ensure that donor wishes are respected. The KU Alumni Association, KU Medical Center Alumni Associations and KU Endowment may have personal information on donors which will make the recognition particularly meaningful to the donor.
    4. When alumni are invited to campus to receive special recognition, it is helpful to coordinate plans with KU Endowment, KU Alumni Association and KU Medical Center Alumni Associations, as there may be a need to visit with the donor. Such coordination can help make the campus visit successful. Often donors are engaged with multiple areas of the University and a specific unit’s stewardship may have an impact on another unit’s relationship with the donor.
  9. Fundraising Practices

    All advancement activities have the potential of enhancing the generosity of alumni and friends of the University. In this context, all members of the University share in creating conditions favorable to fundraising. Administrators and faculty assume important roles in fundraising. KU Endowment is directly responsible for fundraising on behalf of the University. The following practices are supportive of effective fundraising for the University:

    1. Deans and directors should work closely with KU Endowment development staff assigned to their unit in assessing and prioritizing needs of the unit, setting goals, and planning and implementing fundraising initiatives. At the request of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor or the Executive Vice Chancellor, KU Endowment fundraising staff will work with University administrators to draft annually a Major Gift Development Plan to discuss fundraising activity for that unit. These plans are shared with both Executive Vice Chancellors and provide a framework for organized, effective fundraising planning and execution.
    2. When participating in activities that are primarily for alumni and purposes of friend-raising, care should be exercised to avoid any perception of fundraising. If fundraising is to occur in conjunction with alumni activities, the fundraising function should be carefully planned and coordinated with staff from KU Endowment and the KU Alumni Association.
    3. All charitable gifts for the benefit of the University, both unrestricted and restricted to particular programs and special purposes, are to be made to KU Endowment. Care should be exercised when discussing with donors their preferences for use restrictions of gifts. Typically, the donor’s preferences are well within the capability of the institution to carry out. On occasion, however, the use conditions of a gift may not be appropriate or may be unnecessarily restrictive. In such instances, KU Endowment will discuss the gift's implications with University administrators to determine acceptance feasibility. No gift may be accepted that would infringe on the University's control over its core academic functions (such as faculty research evaluations, faculty hiring and promotion decisions, curriculum development, classroom teaching and course content). KU Endowment is responsible for negotiating appropriate gift conditions and the relevant University administrators, academic units, staff, and appropriate shared governance bodies should be involved early in discussions on potential gifts related to the University's academic mission. In furtherance of its responsibilities, KU Endowment will provide periodic reporting to the Provost's Office on major gifts made for faculty support in a form suitable for distribution to appropriate shared governance bodies and consistent with the University's guiding principles on academy-industry relationships as enumerated in Article X, USRR.
    4. Potential donors often are not aware of the gift and fund type options available to them for contributing to benefit the University. KU Endowment staff are available to provide expertise on charitable gift options such as cash, appreciated securities, gifts-in-kind, bequests, life insurance, real estate, trusts and other gift instruments.
    5. Timely receipting of charitable gifts is essential to maintaining good donor relationships. When academic units receive gifts sent directly to them, they should endeavor to transmit the gift to KU Endowment quickly.
    6. When KU Endowment is the end user of an in-kind gift, it will receipt the in-kind gift and communicate with the donor. On occasion, donors wish to make gifts of property for the use of the University directly, and in such situations an in-kind gift of property will be receipted by the University’s General Counsel Office. The University’s General Counsel Office has Guidelines concerning acceptance of in-kind gifts by the University and University administrators should refer to these guidelines before accepting gifts of in-kind property.
    7. To the extent that donor records are made available to appropriate University personnel, such information is strictly confidential and remains the property of KU Endowment. After use of such confidential information, it should be shredded, deleted or returned to KU Endowment. No gift, however, will be accepted that requries that its purposes cannot be disclosed publicly.
    8. KU Endowment staff are available to assist in complying with the policy on University Fundraising.

Lawrence Campus
Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Medical Center Campus
Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor of the Medical Center

Approved by: 
Approved on: 
Friday, February 18, 1994
Effective on: 
Friday, February 18, 1994
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
fundraising, government relations, donations
Change History: 

09/23/2021: Updated policy.
06/29/2017: Fixed broken links.
04/02/2015: Fixed broken link to Board of Regents Policy Manual.
12/17/2014: Fixed broken link to Board of Regents Policy Manual.
07/29/2014: Updated formatting for outline structure in Policy Statement; updated overall formatting of List of Sections, Contact, and Related fields; fixed broken links.
03/28/2014: Corrected holdover references to "University Relations" and "University Communications" to "Public Affairs" to reflect organizational changes.
11/29/2013: Changed references to "University Communications" and "University Relations" to "Public Affairs" to reflect organizational changes.
05/15/2008: Reviewed and updated.
03/2003: Reviewed and updated.
04/2000: Reviewed and updated.
08/1996: Reviewed and updated.
02/18/1994: Approved by Chancellor Gene A. Budig

Financial Categories: 
Operational Categories: 
Outreach & Solicitation

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