As Leigh wrote in last week’s newsletter, many across Advancement have been engaged in some serious planning over the last few weeks. There was plenty of discussion on a wide range of issues and some general themes were reinforced. For me, the big themes were around creating a culture of increased collaboration and trying to come to a shared understanding of how the work we do contributes to our overarching goals. In other words, how do we determine what adds real value and, potentially, what can be set aside so we can better focus on our goals? 

The question of value is a conundrum. Through which lens do we view value? What timeline do we use to measure it? How do we agree on what is valuable and what is not? Value, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder. At least we all agree on our overarching goal: Fundraising.

The sentiments in our planning discussion were mixed. Some favoured dropping virtually everything that cannot be immediately tied to our annual fundraising target. Others were less sure that annual objectives trump longer-term activities intended to improve our ability to fundraise over the long term. This debate continued at Advancement Leadership Team (ALT) where, without speaking for my colleagues, I believe we agreed that our objective is to find the right balance between short- and long-term planning. 

Thinking about this discussion, I was reminded of something C.S. Lewis wrote. 

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art,” he wrote. “It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” 
As we continue to ponder this question of value, I wonder if we should consider not only the things that have fundraising value, but also those things that give value to fundraising.

Achieving our objectives

By Deanna Bennett, Executive Director, Office of the Vice-Principal

At the end of March, managers spent valuable time attending three planning sessions: fundraising, alumni engagement, and internally focused. Planning is hard work and the active participation, ongoing feedback, and courage to be bold was, and is always, very much appreciated.

Over the three planning days, consistent themes around capacity, inclusion, collaboration, what work is most valuable to meet our goals, ownership, and clarity of roles and responsibilities were heard. These themes will underpin our work as we go forward with the following annual operational priorities:

Increase fundraising results to achieve eventual steady state of $75-million per year:

  • Priority setting process (owner: Michelle)
  • Driving Development (owner: Bobbie)
  • Donor Relations (owner: Jodi)
  • Gift acceptance process (owner: Jodi)
  • Proposal process (owner: Bobbie)
  • Annual Giving strategy (owner: Leigh)

Alumni engagement:

  • Homecoming (owner: Leigh)
  • Faculty alumni strategy (owner: Sara)
  • Toronto (owner: Rachel
  • Young alumni (owner: Kim)

Internally focused:

  • Internal operations (owner: Karen)
  • Technology roadmap (owner: Rachel)  
  • Hybrid working environment (owner: Deanna)
  • Fundraising professional development framework (owner: Deanna)

Now we must give them some shape over the next couple of weeks.

The owners of each objective will be drafting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) objectives and working with others to outline the key tactics that will help achieve each objective next year. 
On April 26, the planning groups will come together to review and finalize the plans.

A big thanks!

It’s been quite the journey, but today marks the first day of the re-opening of Summerhill. It’s been a true collective effort that began with a vision and ultimately informed a new configuration of space that we will pilot over the coming year. While there is much to learn, I think we should all feel proud of our contributions to the vision and where we have landed to date – thank you.

The past number of months saw heightened activity with a primary focus on provisioning our new space with furniture and technology while also considering space booking, safety procedures, and logistics. 

This has truly been a group effort, but a small and mighty team of people deserve special recognition. We would simply not have been ready for today’s opening without the focused efforts of Kate Bearse, Kelly Colby, Sarah Blayney Lew, Peggy Shanks, Jon Bennett, Brent Nickle, and Simon Labbett. On behalf of Advancement, thank you for everything you have done these past months!

A new look for the newsletter

You will have noticed that our ALTogether Now email newsletter looks somewhat different this week.

We have changed the look to achieve some significant efficiencies in weekly production and, in doing so, also streamlined the design to one that is clean, clear, and contemporary. The changes we’ve made, such as eliminating graphics and multiple buttons that simply directed to the same issue webpage, have resulted in an estimated 3-plus hours of saved time each week. Over the course of one year, or 50 issues, 150-plus hours can now be devoted to other tasks.

This newsletter is a valuable vehicle for Advancement-wide communications and we see that reflected in the metrics, with an average open rate of 78 per cent and a click-to-open rate of 99 per cent (or the number of clicks out of the number of opens).

Questions about our hybrid pilot

Here we feature questions about the department’s hybrid pilot. If you have a question related to Building a Better Workplace and/or the hybrid pilot phase, please send it to the Advancement Leadership Team through Advancing Your Voice. Here are the questions we received this week:

Will I have privacy to take/make calls with donors and alumni?

All offices are open concept. If you need privacy you can use/book a breakout room.

What amenities are available in Summerhill?

Water is available in the east and west wings by/in the kitchens. Each kitchen has a fridge that you can store your lunch in for the day. There are Keurig machines that you can use if you choose to bring in your own coffee pods.

How do I get into Summerhill? Do I need keys to each office?

The front main doors at the front of the building are the best ways to enter the building if you are new to coming to Summerhill. Exterior doors will be locked for your safety and your staff card can be activated to be able to enter Summerhill. To do this, please reach out to your departmental support (Kate Bearse, Sarah Blayney Lew, Kelly Colby, or Peggy Shanks) for instructions. This process can take 24 to 48 hours to complete as a ticket may need to be put into Central Information Technology Services (ITS). In the building, all rooms will be unlocked. If these rooms are closed, there will be a master key available in the designated admin rooms (101 and 115).

Who do I contact if there is no toilet paper, etc.?

Please reach out to Kate Bearse and Kelly Colby via Teams and they will work directly with Physical Plant Services (PPS) to address the issue.

Where do I put my garbage? 

Please only use the main garbage bins in the kitchens or hallways for garbage. There will not be garbage bins available at individual desks.

Jobs with Advancement

We need your recruitment help. Know great talent that would be a good addition to our team? If so, please promote the vacancies below with your networks and let’s find some amazing new team members.

Applications (including a cover letter and résumé) must be submitted through CareerQ. For additional information on this posting, please reach out to either Carla Ferreira Rodrigues or the hiring manager for the position you are interested in.

Position Competition number Unit and department Closing date Grade Job type
Senior Development Officer J0322-0696 Development April 24, 2022 9 Continuing


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