Analysis and Recommendations for Annual Giving

Project Description:

The intern conducted a comprehensive study of annual giving mail program at peer institutions and other non-profits. Through in-depth analysis of Target Analytics reports, conversations with annual giving officers and direct marketing experts across the country, and mail-piece analysis, the intern compiled recommendations for implementable changes to Annual Giving’s current mail program based on best practices data compiled through the intern’s research.

Project Showcase 184


The annual fund at the University of Michigan plays a major role in the institution remaining strong. This funding is used across various platforms. By discovering and recommending best-practice changes the intern’s work will ensure the Annual Giving team inside the Office of University Development continues to raise funds at a record pace to fulfill many important University and student needs.

Skills Gained:

  • Data Collection
  • Analyzing Skills
  • Benchmarking

 “The networking and professional development opportunities were absolutely fantastic for a young professional.”

-Adam Crowell, D-SIP ‘13

Foundation Relations and the School of Education

Project Description:

The intern worked closely with the gift officer in Foundation Relations dedicated to the School of Education’s Detroit School of Arts (DSA) project, and developed and edited foundation proposals and assisted with major gift prospect work. The intern also helped the School of Education identify and apply to small grants for instruments, books and art supplies on behalf of DSA. In addition, the intern provided a fundraising workshop to the DSA students as part of the youth development curriculum.


More financial support will allow for the School of Education to further its reach and eventually allow for it to partake in even more projects. Overall, the project contributed to a stronger relationship between the School of Education and the Detroit School of Arts, which in turn helps the reputation of both institutions and allows them both to continue to impact society in a positive way.

Project Showcase 133

Skills Gained:

  • Grant Writing
  • Strategy and Planning
  • Identification Skills

“Through D-SIP, I learned to look at issues from multiple perspectives in order to understand where people are coming from and why they navigate problems the way they do.”

-Raul Jimenez, D-SIP ‘13

Highlighting Impact One Step at a Time

Project Description:

In order to support the work of the upcoming campaign as well as future campaigns, the intern created tools, systems, and resources to enhance and make more effective, reliable, and streamlined impact reporting across various University units. The intern created templates and learning resources that will allow units to quickly and effectively leverage the data to create impact reporting that can be further personalized. To complete this project, the intern worked with the Stewardship team inside the Office of University Development (OUD).

Stewardship 2


Effective stewardship is key to maintaining strong and long lasting relationships with donors, and this project helped to create an easier, less time-intensive way to make impact reports. All of these efforts will now allow the Stewardship team within the Office of University Development to disseminate messages of donor impact more effectively as well as have the ability to teach other campus units how to utilize these improved resources.

Skills Gained:

  • Data Management
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Relationship Building

 “D-SIP taught me how to understand myself within a professional context and how to approach philanthropic problem solving. My work experience in Stewardship gave me a really rich perspective on how to maintain relationships by giving donors meaningful information about how they make a difference, but this insight has also crossed over to my personal relationships. I am more mindful of how I communicate to the people around me the impact they have in my life.”

-Alicia Patterson, D-SIP ‘13

Measuring the Return on Investment of Athletic Events

Project Description:

Michigan Stadium

The intern developed multiple tools to make it easier for Athletic Development staff to coordinate and measure fundraising events. First of all, the intern created a Return on Investment (ROI) report template, which showcased the areas of opportunity when evaluating event attendance and donor giving. Secondly, the intern developed a user guide, or toolkit, which explained how to upload football suite event information in the new Donor Alumni Relationship Tool (DART) module. The module is an application within DART to input all event information. Lastly, the intern created a communication plan and timeline to distribute the toolkit to the UM Development Community, so others know how to efficiently add football suite events.


The ROI report template helps Athletic Development create events that have a high return on investment, which ultimately helps grow Michigan Athletics. Events will be more cost effective and successful, in terms of donor cultivation. This project allowed the intern to utilize skills that are transferrable to multiple development or events career field.

Skills gained:

  • Event ROI Importance
  • Navigating Relationships
  • Critical Analysis

“Overall, I learned how to put on events that are successful and are worth what they cost. This knowledge will help me be successful in any event planning role. “

-Meredith Westerlund, D-SIP ’13

College of Engineering International Communications and Development Project


The intern was charged to accomplish three main tasks: “implement the International Ambassador Program for Faculty, determine and carry out enhancement to the international communication plan, and build a pool of high net worth individuals”.

International Engineering


The Intern helped build the IT infrastructure and internal processes that has ensured a successful implementation of the International Ambassador Program for Faculty. He also worked on strategic recommendations and presented to the Advancement leadership, the Office of Communications and Marketing, and the Engineering Dean on actionable recommendations. He was also able to identify platforms and channels that are likely to lead Advancement to high net worth donors, building a pool of more than 40 high capacity prospects through the summer.

Skills Gained:

  • Communications
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Time and priority management

“The summer reaffirmed my career passions. The most meaningful part of the summer was seeing my recommendations turning into realities. ”

-Peter Han, D-SIP ‘13

The Class Agent Program


At the Law School, the intern worked closely with the Director of Annual Giving to strengthen the Class Agent Program. The Class Agents are alumni volunteers who represent their graduating class and serve as liaisons between the Law School and their class. The Class Agents are important because they work with Annual Giving to encourage their classmates to make annual contributes to the Law School Annual Fund; also encouraging new annual pledges. The project was to engage Class Agents, build camaraderie, and enthusiasm throughout the University wide capital campaign beginning in the Fall of 2013. Feedback was sought out from the Class Agents’ experience through surveys and meetings with current Class Agents.


Although the project was not complete, the Annual Giving team was about to receive feedback from the current Class Agents volunteering in the program and transform the program effectively. As a team we were able to find out what works and what is not working for the volunteers to improve their strategies or class connections.

Law School

Skills Gained:

  • Stewardship
  • Effective Communication
  • Data Analysis
  • Project Management
  • Innovative Thinking

“ My experience at the Law School was so rewarding because I got the opportunity to work in all aspects of development from Annual Giving to Stewardship to Alumni Relations, all coming together to assist in making my project something that will be useful to the office and upcoming capital campaign. ”

- Chatoris Jones, D-SIP ‘13

Peace Neighborhood Online Marketing Revamp


Peace Neighborhood Center is a social services non-profit that serves the west side of Ann Arbor. This year it celebrated its 42nd Birthday and is a well established service provider for the community. Peace receives more than half of its budget from donor support. As Such Donor engagement and stewardship are immensely important. Peace has relied almost exclusively on mail solicitations and fundraisers to receive support in the past. Though this has been successful and will continue to be, the Development Director and Executive director agreed it was time to bring Peace into the 21st century of fundraising with a push for more online involvement. Thus the intern project consisted of utilizing E-newsletters, social media, and a complete redesigning of the website to create a fresh and updated online way for the center to engage its community and donors.


The biggest impact the intern’s project had was creating a new face for Peace online with its new website. The new website is more updated, has much needed features: an embedded donate button, an integrated calendar, and updated program descriptions. The site will be the face of the organization for many important functions in the coming years. It will be a touch point for clients and donors alike. It will be a resource used when engaging new supporters. It will streamline volunteer activities and make communication much more hassle free.

Furthermore, the intern’s efforts with social media and other online tools have provided a much needed outlet for the community to engage on a more individualized basis with the organization. The best practices documents compiled by the intern for these features will allow for them to continue at the high level of involvement the intern established.

Finally, the marketing for fundraisers, donation solicitations, and other operations facilitated by the intern will have brought in total of over $4,000 for the organization over the course of the summer.

Peace Center

Skills Gained:

  • Time management
  • Web and content design
  • Cross Platform Marketing
  • Persuasive and concise communication techniques
  • Stewardship
  • Grant making process

“D-SIP has fundamentally changed me for the better. It is one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve ever had a chance to engage in. If you are still considering applying to this program stop thinking and apply now. Come August you’ll thank yourself, I guarantee it.”

-Winston Kelly, D-SIP ’13