Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fundraisers: Don't Count Your Donations Until They Hatch,0,1335045.story
South Florida
Economic downturn affects Pickens' donations to Oklahoma State
Associated Press Writer
8:48 PM EDT, October 22, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma State University officials cheered when oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens gave a record-setting gift of $165 million to his alma mater two years ago for athletic programs and then invested it in his BP Capital hedge fund so that it would grow even more.

But now the fund has dropped so low amid the national economic downturn that university officials won't say how much is left and the fancy athletic village it was supposed to pay for has been put on hold. Pickens himself has lost "well in excess of $1 billion" as oil and natural gas prices have plummeted, said Jay Rosser, Pickens' spokesman.

In 2007, Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder trumpeted growth in the school's athletic facilities construction fund. Pickens' generous contribution, together with other donations and market appreciation, had allowed the fund to mushroom to $288 million.

OSU spokesman Gary Shutt on Wednesday declined to say how much is left." Construction on facilities in the athletic village area will begin when the economic climate improves," Shutt said. "Like all investors in these uncertain times, we are exploring all options as we consider our future plans."

Shutt said he couldn't specify what those options are. Pickens, whose fortune was pegged by Forbes magazine at $3 billion in 2007, had hoped investing his money and contributions from others into BP Capital would provide enough money to cover the costs of the athletic village.The project is expected to include a new indoor practice facility, stadiums for baseball and softball and venues for baseball, tennis, soccer, equestrian, and track and field. Work on the west end zone project of the football stadium, named Boone Pickens Stadium after its benefactor, continues and remains on target for completion in 2009. Rosser said the company is no different than "any other industry, business or household in America."We've been hit hard by the economic downturn."

Rosser said the company is in contact with the school and they're "working together" on the funding issue, but he referred questions about the fund's value to Oklahoma State officials.Oil prices fell below $67 a barrel on Wednesday, 55 percent from its peak of $147.27 in mid-July.
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Fundraisers Beware: Wrong Words Can Dink Appeals
College’s ‘Blah’ Money Pitch Falls Flat
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (Oct. 21) - An attempt
to reach younger donors with a
breezily written letter that uses the word
“blah” 137 times has some Framingham
State College alumni questioning the
school’s professionalism, judgment and ...
blah, blah, blah.
The Sept. 5 letter, signed by the president of
the school’s alumni association, was sent to
about 6,000 recent graduates who hadn’t
donated to the school. It used standard
fundraising pitches, interspersed with sentences
of nothing but “blah.”
“With the recent economic downturn and
loan crisis, it has become even more important
for Framingham State College to receive
your support. Blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah,” one part of the letter
Christopher Hendry, the school’s vice president
of college advancement, told the
MetroWest Daily News of Framingham he
approved the letter, which he said was written
in a marketing style expected to appeal
to younger donors.
Alumnus Ken Shifman, a 2003 graduate,
said the letter “insults the intelligence” of
“It just doesn’t seem like something from a
legitimate university,” Shifman said.
After several complaints, Hendry sent a letter
of apology a month later in which he
called the first letter a “misguided and embarrassing
attempt to connect with alumni
in a different way.”
However, Hendry notes that after the
“blah” letter was sent, the school collected
about $2,000 from nearly 40 alumni who
had never previously given money.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Fundraising Radio:

Listen to "The Forum for Nonprofits" at

Dr. Stephen L. Goldstein is the host; Ellen Schulman is the producer. Each week, we focus on a worthy nonprofit--and encourage listeners to make financial contributions to it. Programs are available 24/7 365 on the Internet--and may be heard from anywhere in the world.

If you want to suggest an organization to be interviewed, contact "The Forum for Nonprofits." We can contact them by phone worldwide. One recent interview originated in Dubai.