Bad economy affects BSM fundraising goals

Mary Muselik & Meredith Gallagher

The bad economy is affecting individual families, companies, and organizations. Benilde-St. Margaret’s isn’t exempt from the effects of the tough times, and they, too, have had to make some changes to ensure that funding stays strong.

Dr. Bob Tift, president of the school, realizes the challenges facing the school but is optimistic that the community will continue to support BSM. “In tough economic times, funding has dropped off,” he said, “but funding will stay strong.”

The administration is confident that with the success of our students and the positive recognition of our school, donors will continue to give. “[In hard economic times] people pull a couple of charities off their list, said Dr. Tift, “but they continue to support organizations that they are really passionate about.”

The administration has several plans to keep BSM’s name at the top of donors’ lists. “We are stepping up communications and talking honestly about our challenges,” said Dr. Tift.

BSM feels that there’s a need to show their donors that they are being more prudent with their money. “We are not being frivolous with our spending, but at the same time, we are not diminishing the quality of the education our students receive,” said Dr. Tift.

BSM has already taken several actions to cut costs. “We have made budget cuts…and all faculty and staff will take a pay freeze for next year,” said Dr. Tift. “The annual budget next year will be $56,000 less than the previous year’s budget.”

Instead of buying new athletic uniforms or team equipment every year, the school is hoping to encourage teams to cut back on their spending.

It is not that BSM wants to cut funding to extracurriculars or athletics; the school is just focused on sending funds towards investments in technology and financial aid. “The need has never been as great,” said Dr. Tift.

In hopes of raising more money, BSM has made some recent changes to their development offices. “Staffing changes are pretty common in development, and we’re looking to fill two positions,” said Dr. Tift. BSM has hired consultant Anne Rizzo to search for qualified candidates.

“We are looking to fill a new position: Director of Marketing Communications,” said Dr. Tift. They would get the word out about the school and would work with marketing, fundraising, and communications. BSM hopes to fill this position within the next few months.

The second open position is Vice President of Advancement, formerly held by Casey Breen. “The VP oversees fundraising and would report directly to me,” said Dr. Tift, “but we will probably not fill this position until July.”

The issue isn’t that people are not interested in giving money to the school; rather, many feel that they could give more if they waited until the economy improved. A number of donors have expressed interest in donating, but because of where the stock-market is right now, they feel they wouldn’t be giving as much as they wanted due to the fact that their stocks used to be worth more, said Dr. Tift.

“It is not just the money and the economy,” said Dr. Tift, “but rather, we are seeing people having a hard time giving what they really want to give.”