The University is engaged in the most ambitious fundraising effort ever undertaken by a European university. ‘Oxford Thinking’, the Campaign for the University of Oxford, seeks to raise funds in support of the University’s academic priorities. The Development Office (UODO) collaborates with colleagues throughout the collegiate University to support the Campaign and maintain high levels of giving to Oxford.

Oxford Thinking has three key strategic priorities:

  • Supporting students and the life of the University
  • Supporting academic staff and programmes
  • Supporting infrastructure and buildings

Who?

UODO is part of the Development and External Affairs portfolio, led by Dr Robert Easton as Pro-Vice-Chancellor. Liesl Elder is Chief Development Officer, supported by Ben Plummer-Powell, Antony Green and Charlotte Dewhurst as Associate Directors, and Christine Jeffery as Director of Development Services.

Teams within UODO include fundraisers for the academic divisions, as well as the Bodleian Libraries, trusts and foundations, corporations, student support, and sport, together with prospect research, campaign communications, campaign relations, proposals, regular giving and legacies, Gift Registry, and the University-wide fundraising database, DARS. The University has three overseas offices with development and alumni responsibilities: the North American Office in New York, the Asia Office in Tokyo, and the China Office in Hong Kong. The other three areas within Dr Easton’s portfolio are the Public Affairs Directorate, the Alumni Relations Office and the International Strategy Office.

What?

UODO’s role is to help secure philanthropic support for the University’s agreed academic priorities. It also works in partnership with development and academic colleagues throughout the collegiate University, providing development resources to them, and building enduring relationships with the University’s supporters. The engagement and involvement of academic and other colleagues in the process of building relationships towards philanthropic support is a critical part of effective fundraising. Fundraising across the collegiate University is subject to the Relationship Management Protocols. These govern the co-ordination of fundraising across the collegiate University for everyone working in fundraising and alumni relations, and it is the responsibility of UODO to help co-ordinate fundraising activity in all parts of the University, in liaison with the Conference of Colleges and Development Panel.

When?

From its beginnings, the University has relied upon friends and benefactors to help realise its mission of learning and advancement. Today, the effects of philanthropy can be seen in every corner of the University. The Oxford Thinking campaign was launched in 2008 with an initial minimum target of £1.25 billion. In March 2012, this milestone was reached and the Campaign’s goal was increased to £3 billion. There is no time limit.

Why?

The Campaign is not simply a fundraising drive. It is designed to effect a permanent transformation in the way that the University sustains itself at the highest level of excellence as it pursues its academic priorities. By increasing the number of donors, volunteers and advocates for the University and the colleges, and the number and size of gifts made, our goal is to increase financial support for the University’s academic priorities. Government funding has never been sufficient to finance our world-class research and teaching. To maintain our high standards, we must create a much greater degree of financial freedom for ourselves as we advance into the new century. Philanthropic support, particularly endowments, will help secure this mission.

I will take the charge and cost upon me, to reduce it again to his former use, and to make it fit and handsome with seates and shelfes and deskes, and all that may be needful, to stir up other men’s benevolence to help to furnish it with books.

Thomas Bodley’s vision for the Bodleian Library in 1598