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Top International Fundraising Honor Awarded to SAIT Polytechnic

(April 26, 2011) The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has bestowed its highest fundraising honor, the Campbell & Company Award for Excellence in Fundraising, Large Category (six or more individuals in the fundraising department) to SAIT Polytechnic, located in Calgary, Alberta.

The award, which honors an organization that has developed campaigns, initiatives, projects or techniques that have grown and increased its fundraising infrastructure, program and results, was presented at AFP's Awards for Philanthropy Banquet during the International Conference on Fundraising in Chicago in March.

SAIT Polytechnic's alumni and development team is being honored for its innovation and teamwork in achieving extraordinary fundraising success as part of its Promising FuturesTM Campaign, a $75 million campaign to fund a new Trades and Technology Complex. Reaching out to alumni and the community at large, SAIT has achieved large year-over-year increases in dollars raised, including a 159 percent increase in dollars raised and a 275 percent increase in verbal commitments from donors between 2009 and 2010. The diligent work of the development team culminated in the largest gift in SAIT's 94 year history--also the largest personal gift made to any college of polytechnic in Canada to date. SAIT is now at 90 percent of its goal, and the team expects to reach $75 million by June 30.

"We have been fortunate to work with passionately engaged leaders and volunteers who are personally invested in the campaign on many levels," said Brian Bowman, CFRE, director of alumni and development at SAIT Polytechnic. "The passion with which they have approached this initiative has inspired us as fundraisers. Everyone involved recognizes that we are creating a legacy--and that extends beyond the bricks and mortar to our fundraising practices. A team of fundraisers can do amazing things when they're inspired and given the freedom to innovate."

The 40-person development team at SAIT developed new tools and strategies during the capital campaign, including more deeply integrating their prospect research staff into the work of the major gifts officers to ensure donor information was being used in the best way possible. The team established ways to allow researchers to work faster and more efficiently in partnership with the major gifts staff, thus changing the role of donor researchers from "information pusher" to "partner in fundraising," which not only brought success to SAIT, it serves as a model of fundraising practice for other organizations.

"On behalf of the entire Campbell & Company team, I want to congratulate SAIT Polytechnic for receiving the Campbell & Company Award for Excellence," said Peter Fissinger, president of Campbell & Company. "The Promising Futures Campaign represents a dedication towards collaboration, strong leadership, and a drive to engage volunteers in a sustainable and creative way."

The alumni and development team at SAIT has also dramatically changed the way it engages its volunteers, including the creation of the Founding Builders program, a concept to secure ten residential home builders giving at $1 million each. The team also held three successful strategic events and was able to streamline its overall administration and reduce its fundraising costs.

"The development team at SAIT Polytechnic has clearly reached new heights, showing that a healthy dose of inspiration and entrepreneurship can mean big things for fundraising results," said Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO of AFP. "We are pleased to present this award to a group of fundraisers who exemplify solid teamwork and fundraising success."



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