In the wake of yet another industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the focus was on fundraising, capital campaigns and strategic communications when experts gathered at the third edition of the Jacksonites Professional Development Series (JPDS), to examine the principles, strategies, and tactics for planning and executing effective campaigns in raising funds for educational institutions.

The webinar covered such areas as how to plan and execute a successful fundraiser, how to set up and run an advisory board for fundraising campaigns, why fundraising campaigns fail and how to avoid the pitfalls and what to do at the end of the fundraiser witness a huge turnout of participants for the free event including communication scholars and professionals, administrators in the education sector, alumni groups, fundraising volunteers and coordinators, marketing communication professionals and other public personalities from across the world.

Speaking in his address, Chief Host and President of the Jacksonites Alumni Association Worldwide, Prof. Pat Utomi who welcomed guests and presenters to the session expressed excitement about the new modification to the JPDS by the Chinedu Mba-led Steering Committee as well as the topic of discourse and the rich lineup of speakers ready to do justice to the subject of fundraising.

Setting the tone for the presentations, he said, “The JPDS has very helped our understanding of so many strategic issues in communication and performance. In this particular edition, we are getting into an area of great importance.”

Referencing Angus Deaton’s ‘The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality,’ Utomi opined that without education and healthcare, performance is challenged. “It is evident that the society that has made a lot of progress is dependent on the investment in healthcare and education. But as a purely commercial venture, it will be limited to depending on just those who can pay to open the possibilities for education and healthcare. So, we need to find ways of funding education other than relying on what people can afford to pay.

“We live in a country where we are now in a prolonged crisis for higher education. ASUU is on strike again, which has become a pattern. In 1959, the report by Sir Eric Ashby who chaired the Higher Education Commission set up in Nigeria by Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa, revealed that the quality of higher education was as good as the very best in the world. We now see a significant decline, driven majorly by the fact that from a strategic point of view, when the government opened up higher education in the late 70s, and early 80s, it could not fund accordingly. So, we need to build models for funding universities.

“How can we do fundraise in a way that will open access, yet ensure that we raise enough revenue to make the universities of high quality? This is what Chinedu and co have brought experts to discuss. These experts are people of practice and people who have lived as researchers in this area. It is so fundamental and critical to what has been referred to as the tripartite approach to development-where the public and private sectors as well as the private development agencies collaborate to drive development,’ he concluded.

Speaking on the topic, “Fundraising and Capital Campaigns as Strategic Communication,” Charles Okigbo, Professor Emeritus of Strategic Communication at North Dakota State University and former Executive Coordinator of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) explained that Strategic communication is vital for fundraising campaigns from initiation to completion. Noting that there is no bad time for fundraising and capital campaigns, Okigbo revealed that the historical rules and principles of Pareto and Gift Range Chart where 20 percent of people and institutions approached will donate 80 percent of the target still hold sway in sourcing for funding.

In yet another paper he presented titled “Inviting, Training and Developing Board Members For Fundraising Engagement,” Okigbo emphasised that fundraising is essentially about people. In the paper he co-authored with Dr Elizabeth Birmingham of Lakehead University, Canada and Prof. Kelly Sassi of the North Dakota University in the United States, Okigbo further revealed that the constitution of Board Members for fundraising is very strategic to achieving set fundraising targets, hence, the need to get the right people of honour and integrity and train them accordingly to be successful.

Presenting his paper on “Fundraising Not Asking for Money,” John Klocke, CFRE, Advancement Director/Planned and Major Gifts at St. John Paul II Catholic Schools, revealed that there is so much more to fundraising than asking for money. He explained that from conceptualisation till after the donation is made, the entire process of fundraising is basically about relationship building and maintenance, among other things.

One key takeaway he left participants with is, “Do not ask for a gift until you have thanked the donor at least two times and you have communicated the impact of their gift so that they are satisfied with that gift.”

“Fundraising for higher institutions is not random or left to chance. There is an art and science to it.” Prof. Bartholomew Okolo revealed as much in his presentation, “The Art and Science of Resource Mobilization for Higher Education.” Drawing from his years as a Vice-Chancellor of the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Okolo gave practical lessons on resource mobilization strategy development, relationship building, and reward mechanism, philanthropic culture in Nigeria as well as challenges and set back in fundraising.

It is worthy of note that during his tenure as the VC, UNN executed over 400 projects drawing from Tertiary Education Trust Fund and Federal Government capital allocations as well as internally generated revenue. He attracted 2.6bn from Tetfund and 1.7bn from federal Government capital allocations. UNN was also a net recipient of invaluable capital projects by major private sector organisations including the Shell Petroleum Development Company, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, Capital Oil, and Ibeto Group, among others.

Ladi Adamu, Professor of Broadcasting at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria also delivered a paper on “Strategic Fundraising and Capital Campaigns in Higher Institutions in Nigeria,” where she examined five case studies on fundraising and capital campaign. They are Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (straight forward request of 2 billion Naira to build hostels-Dangote/BUA); the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Old Student Inspired fundraiser of 5 billion Naira);  Yobe state government (25 billion Naira) and transformation of the Government College, Umahia by the College’s Old Boys’ association with 2.5 billion Naira. Noting that these are some exceptional cases, she explained that fundraising in Nigeria comes with a lot of challenges including weak alumni networks, lack of alumni database, lack of complete funding, poor community participation, lack of or weak after-fundraiser relationship management and personality-identity ego.

Prof. George Owunari, Vice-Chancellor, the University of PortHarcout who was also a participant at the series commended the organisers of the JPDS for the session, revealing that he was invited by a former Vice-Chancellor. He asked about the cost of fundraising, a pertinent question as agreed by Okigbo. In his response, Okigbo explained that the cost of fundraising depends on the scale of the amount to be raised. He added that everything should begin with a strategic plan beyond just gathering people together and asking them for support.

The highly interactive session was moderated by David Bakare, a consummate Marketing Communications practitioner and MD/CEO of DD-IMC Ltd, a 360-degree Marcomms.

The Jacksonites Professional Development Series Steering Committee Chairman, Prof. Chinedu Mba of Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada, who gave the Vote of thanks thanked all participants and paper presenters for the insightful session. She revealed that there will be a follow-up workshop on a date that will be communicated across and facilitated by Prof.  Charles Okigbo, Dr Elizabeth Birmingham, Prof. Kelly Sassi, John Locke and Prof. Ladi Adamu.

About the JPDS

The Jacksonites Professional Development Series (JPDS) is a professional and personal development initiative of the alumni of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Nigeria Nsukka. It was formally launched in July 2021.

Its vision is to consistently promote the holistic development of Jacksonites, professionals and students in communications and allied fields through periodic interdisciplinary research-based seminars that foster academic research and development which contribute to the advancement of all its stakeholders. These stakeholders include Jacksonites, the Nigerian government, the Nigerian public, allied professionals, practitioners, students, academics and media-related professionals.

The scope of the seminar themes includes all disciplines of Mass Communication (Journalism & Media Studies, Public Relations, Advertising, Broadcasting, Film, Multimedia Studies, Development Communication Studies, as well as Information & Media Studies). These quarterly interdisciplinary sessions will engender the intersection of town and gown/theory & praxis.

JPDS has organized two well-received seminars since its inception. Its inaugural seminar was held in July 2021 and was delivered by Dr Nduka Otiono, an Associate Professor at the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. The title was “A Captured Media in an Insecure Nation: Democracy and Free Speech on Trial?”. Mr Obi Emekekwue, a former Director and Global Head of Communications and Events Management at Afreximbank, delivered the second seminar in November 2021. The title was “Crisis Survival in Today’s Viral World: The Communications Conundrum”.

All activities of JPDS are made possible through the efforts of a team of volunteers: the Steering Committee chaired by Chinedu Mba of Algonquin College, ON, Canada as well as committed and passionate professionals who make up the working groups (Logistics, Publicity & Mobilization, and Sponsorship & Partnership).

For more information on the JPDS, kindly visit:

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