Annual Giving Frequently Asked Questions


How does the annual giving program work with the different colleges, departments and programs?

The individual colleges and programs on campus, based on their current objectives and needs, are asked to establish annual giving initiatives and goals. The annual giving program works to create a timely and powerful annual campaign, and disseminates a clear message to our alumni and friends. Each college and program campaign is treated uniquely, yet managed within a master annual giving calendar.

The annual giving program also works closely with Foundation development officers. Development officers often have the most current information on their respective college, serving as a valuable link to news and happenings on campus. They are often the annual giving program’s first stop for questions and communicate important messages to deans, departments and faculty.

What do annual gifts support?

Annual gifts are a critical source of operational revenue and are used in the year received. They allow the university to respond quickly and effectively to the needs of students and faculty. These gifts provide much-needed dollars for wide-ranging initiatives such as student scholarships, student travel, student tutoring, funding for student research projects and special lectures and seminars. For these reasons, annual giving continues to be one of the Foundation’s top priorities.

When will I be solicited?

The various campaigns and annual appeals of Northern Michigan University operate on a fiscal year from July1 through June 30. Once a donor has made two contributions to the designation(s) he or she desires to support, there should be no more solicitations during the remainder of that fiscal year. Memberships, clubs and special organizations may solicit outside of the annual giving program, however.

At NMU, the annual giving program operates within a 12-month solicitation calendar. You will likely receive a telemarketing phone call first, followed by either an annual letter appeal or another phone call. While we make every effort to distance six months between our solicitations, we can not guarantee it.

For telemarketing pledges, an initial confirmation letter is sent immediately following the pledge commitment made over the phone. Another reminder letter or phone call will follow if necessary.

Why would I receive more than one solicitation from Northern Michigan University?

While the NMU Foundation is responsible for fundraising on behalf of the university, individual schools and programs will periodically conduct solicitation efforts within the fiscal year as well. Generally, various colleges or programs of NMU will solicit alumni or friends who have given to that area in the past, or who may seem likely to have an interest in contributing to Northern.

During the year, you may receive a number of solicitations, outside of those sent by the NMU Foundation.  These might include informational mailings and emails sent by the NMU Alumni Association, NMU Athletic Department or any notices or newsletters sent by other colleges or programs on campus. This is especially likely if:

  • You have more than one degree from Northern Michigan University
  • You and your spouse both attended Northern Michigan University
  • You have given to a number of areas at NMU previously

How may I direct my gift?

Many of the gifts received by the Foundation are designated to a particular college, school, department or program. When you get a call from our student callers, you may designate to the area(s) you would like to support. If you are unsure how to direct your gift, our student callers can tell you how this gift can be used and will help you identify a specific designation of your choice. Typically, current donors have a history of giving to specific areas, but we encourage everyone to make the most immediate needs of Northern a priority.

If you have additional questions or need further information, the student caller will forward these to the call center manager. The manager will forward the question to the appropriate person for prompt follow-up.

How will my gift be used?

As the donor, you decide how your gift will be used. Typically, the majority of the gifts received by NMU are designated by the donor for a particular college, school, department or program. The Foundation deposits each such designated gift into the established Foundation accounts. Deans, department heads and programs monitor the spending of these gifts as well as the account balance. You can find the confirmation of your designation in the “thank you” letter and receipt sent to you by the Foundation.

The small percentage of unrestricted funds is used to cover costs to support initiatives for which other funding may not be available. Unrestricted funds provide a pool of available resources that can easily be directed to where they are needed most.

How can I make an annual gift?

You may make an annual gift at any time. If you have not received a recent phone call or mailing, simply contact the annual giving program at the Foundation. You can also visit the Foundation Web site to make an online gift.

Phone: 906-227-2627
To give online, visit:

Also keep in mind that the company that you work for may have a matching gifts program. For more information, start by checking with your company’s human resources department. This is an easy and exciting way to enlarge the impact of your own gift, providing support at double or even triple the amount of your gift!