At Berkeley, ‘everyone should play a role in fundraising’

Julie Hooper spoke Wednesday about fundraising at UC Berkeley. (UC Berkeley video by Stephen McNally)

For every dollar UC Berkeley invests in philanthropic giving, it gets between six and seven dollars back in donations.

That’s good, Julie Hooper, the chief campus fundraiser, said during a Campus Conversation on Wednesday. But how can the 150-year-old public school catch up to its private peers, who have been raising money from wealthy alumni for generations?

“It is only in recent decades that we have paid attention to philanthropy as a revenue source,” Hooper told a crowd of faculty and staff who had gathered to hear from the vice chancellor for university development and alumni. “I just really resonate with the mission of Berkeley.”

Hooper, who came to UC Berkeley in 2014, went on to describe how the campus has tried to streamline fundraising operations and build more unity among alumni and the student body.

“Our job here is to inspire alumni, friends and parents to give back to us,” she said. “(Giving) is a choice, and it is important to not forget that.”

julie hooper looks at the camera with dan mogulor

Hooper, left, called on staff to be part of the fundraising process. (UC Berkeley photo by Hulda Nelson)

Pointing to last year’s record fundraising haul of $569 million in pledges and gifts, Hooper said the campus had made great progress in raising revenue from donors. But she said the campus needed to think holistically about its strategy to continue growing its philanthropic giving.

Different colleges or units often repeatedly approach the same major donors without a coordinated plan to not step on each other’s toes, she said.

“One idea is to think of Berkeley as one Berkeley when it comes to fundraising and advancement,” she said. “We are very decentralized, but at the end of the day we all wear our Berkeley hat too.”

Hooper also said all staff members, from spokespeople to deans to call-center support clerks, can help when it comes to making the campus appealing to donors.

“I would say that all of us are ambassadors for fundraising; everybody here plays a role in fundraising and outreach,” she said. “Shifting our culture on campus so that everyone can see the part they play in building the philanthropic culture is an exciting opportunity.”

The final Campus Conversation of the semester will feature Chancellor Carol Christ on December 12 in West Pauley Ballroom (please note the venue change). For more information and to view previous conversations, visit campusconversations.berkeley.edu.