Creating a Culture of Giving: Converting Habitat Volunteers into Donors


Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley is largely a volunteer based organization, as volunteers provide the time that goes into tearing down and reconstructing houses in Washtenaw County. Just like any other nonprofit, Habitat depends largely on monetary gifts from donors, however for too long the volunteer base has been unaware that they can make an impact with their time, as well as through monetary donations. As such, the project for the intern was to develop a plan and a timeline to convert volunteers into donors.


Individual’s ability to give should never be underestimated, and often without being asked volunteers do not know how to support nonprofit organizations. The goal of this project was to create additional options that are geared towards Habitat volunteers to provide them with options to support Habitat financially. The deliverables of this project will help to convert Habitat’s current and future volunteer base into monetary donors, while implementing measures to increase the engagement of these volunteers with Habitat.

Skills Gained:

  • Data Analysis
  • Strategizing and Planning
  • Program/Project Design
  • Prospect Research and Analysis
  • Listening and Communication

“The D-­SIP program is centered on philanthropy, but truly is much more than that. The program is extremely helpful in providing an in-depth knowledge on philanthropy and the development profession, and also provides the necessary skills and toolsets for self growth both professionally and personally.”

-­Kwabena Nuamah, D­-SIP ‘15

International Alumni Outreach at Taubman College


Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning currently has 178 international students and over 860 alumni living abroad, including high percentages hailing from China, Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong. As a globally-informed institution, there is an opportunity to better connect and engage with this increasing international population as active students, alumni, and potential donors. This summer, the intern produced an updated contact list of prospects from this region and connected with individual prospects via email to gauge interest and/or connection. She also comprehensively studied alumni populations in select Asian countries to understand cultural differences in philanthropy and developed a strategy that comprises recommendations on optimal cultivation of these relationships.


The impact of Taubman’s International Alumni Outreach Initiative is to develop effective communication and engagement with alumni living internationally, a mission that begins with engaging our international students on campus as well. The feedback received from alumni will allow Taubman to improve communications and experiences for alumni living abroad, and engage with a heightened sense of cultural sensitivity and awareness. The intern’s proposed recommendations will enable Taubman to better connect with culturally diverse and physically distant populations, and hopefully enrich Taubman’s ability to understand, connect with, and steward alumni living internationally.

Skills Gained:

  • Communication and collaboration
  • Initiative to capitalize on resources
  • Identifying organizational needs
  • Benchmarking
  • Strategic planning

“With experiences in the classroom and workplace, I have a renewed energy and appreciation for the opportunities here at Michigan. As students and alumni, there are endless connections to be made, here and across the globe, and ways for you to be challenged, supported, inspired, and propelled.”

– Charlotte Cuddy, D-SIP ‘15

Finding Smart Solutions Through the Service Enhancement Initiative (SEI)


The intern worked to implement a new culture of data-driven decision making to manage projects and its resource allocation. The intern analyzed data from various teams at the Office of University Development (OUD) to forecast employee time allocation for operations and special projects for the upcoming fiscal year. The data was presented to various directors in forms of pivot tables and data visualizations. In addition, projects for OUD community as a whole were tracked in a project management tool, Clarizen, with the ultimate goal of consolidating project intake processes and overseeing multiple projects. With the forecasts and the new project management tool, OUD is able to make decisions to maximize impact while allocating resources most efficiently.


From SEI efforts, the team will be able to show management the areas that are under-staffed and where employees are over-worked so that management team can reference this to either hire more people or consider changing the work allocation breakdown. The efforts to forecast work breakdowns will lead to more high-impact, low-resource needing project selections, maximizing ROI (return on investment). The work also is an important change management piece that will enable OUD to be more efficient. As a result of the effort, OUD is able to work with the Schools, College, Units and allow for more projects intakes with the same/ fewer resource needs. The new project management tool established will also facilitate better communication and tracking for projects in progress to allow more co-operation between different teams.

Skills Gained:

  • Data Analysis
  • Leadership
  • Project Management

“D-SIP allowed me to learn more about philanthropy at Michigan and gave me the opportunity to pilot a new effort at the University. I felt like I really was able to make an impact!”

-Alice Wang, D-SIP ‘15

UM-Dearborn Prospect Identification and Engagement


The purpose behind the project was to evaluate the process UM-Dearborn currently used to identify and research prospects, to find best practices and provide recommendations for improvement. The intern went about this by conducting meetings with development staff to understand current best practices. Additionally, the intern conducted research on other institutions, non-profits and social media platforms like LinkedIn to develop a plan to better identify prospects for the University and an outlook for what the implementations could be going forward. Finally, the intern provided engagement activities to foster or build a relationship with the prospective alumni.


The project will impact students, faculty, and the entire UM-Dearborn community. Providing a more efficient method for identifying and researching prospects will help gift officers in fundraising for the University’s initiatives. The project will help with funding student and faculty support, educational initiatives, and learning environments. Moreover, it will help with onboarding new gift officers, as they can use the suggestions to better understand who they should be targeting. They can then better prioritize, leaving more time to foster relationships.

IMG_3932Skills Gained:

  • Communication
  • Research and Analysis
  • Donor Prospecting
  • Creating Proposal Reports
  • Time Management

“The D-SIP program has provided me with a multitude of opportunities to grow as an individual through self-reflection and to gain greater knowledge about philanthropy and what it means to be a philanthropist.”

– Michael Parker, D-SIP ‘15

Faculty, Staff and Retiree Giving Campaign at UM-Flint


The faculty, staff and retiree campaign model that the intern worked on aligns with the broader UM-Flint capital campaign and will provide a blueprint for implementation in March 2016. A timeline for its implementation based on research, including formal and informal channels, focus groups, and benchmarking was delivered. A tool kit containing branding for social media, solicitation letters, stewardship events and web page scheme was designed. The intern’s role was to ensure that a comprehensive package including a proposed budget was handed over to the Development and Alumni Relations office. This is the first faculty, staff and retiree campaign that UM-Flint will launch and the intern designed the strategy for its implementation through her project. Moreover, she designed a donor retention plan for faculty, staff and retirees as a means of addressing the overall goal of the campaign, which is to cultivate a philosophy of giving while maintaining a sustainable participation rate in giving efforts.


This project will impact the UM-Flint campus in the long run because it will be the blueprint for the first concrete faculty, staff and retiree campaign. The easy implementation of this model will ensure that the development staff does not have to leverage additional resources for strategizing a plan of action for the campaign because that part is already completed.

Skills Gained:

  • Budgeting
  • Collaboration
  • Creative thinking
  • Goal Setting

“The Development Summer Internship Program provided me with a unique understanding of my professional and personal development. It allowed me to explore aspects of myself in a professional cadre with the guidance and support of a phenomenal team of individuals, which has been life changing.”

– Nakshidil Sadien, D-SIP ‘15

Identifying Major Giving and Lead Annual Giving Prospects for Stamps


The intern’s project for the Stamps School of Art & Design was to create an alumni engagement questionnaire to collect information on alumni who are not very involved with the school. She started off by reviewing a wealth-screening project completed in the winter of 2015. She sent a survey to over 2,000 alumni from this screening. After receiving over 200 responses, she created a scoring model to rate the alumni based on interest and connection to the school. Based on the information from the wealth screening and the questionnaire, she was able to pinpoint prospects who showed interest, connection, and capacity.


The intern provided the Stamps School of Art & Design development team with general feedback from alumni, and provided them with a list of 22 major giving prospects and 19 lead annual giving prospects. She also supplied them with a list of individuals who volunteered to participate in the school in various ways. She was also able to give recommendations for ways to use surveys in the future and ways to further engage alumni that expressed interest in future involvement.

IMG_3952Skills Gained:

  •   Flexibility
  •   Analysis
  •   Information Synthesis
  •   Survey Design
  •   Time Management

“I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work at Stamps this summer. I have gained so much respect for the development profession and the work that goes into building and maintaining strong relationships with alumni.”

– Meredith Joseph, D-SIP ‘15

Planned Giving within the School of Kinesiology


The intern was charged with evaluating planned giving within the School of Kinesiology and offering recommendations to improve the school’s standing in this area of fundraising. This required benchmarking best practices being utilized by other schools and units across campus, and then applying those concepts to the scope and scale of Kinesiology. The intern created marketing materials that will serve as informational collateral during donor meetings as well as being posted on the school’s updated website. As a part of this project, Kinesiology and the Office of Gift Planning, setup a meeting to uncover planned giving prospects and exchange information regarding what the school is currently doing and how OGP can assist the staff in securing planned gifts. The relationship between Kinesiology and OGP has really been enhanced and the two now meet monthly to discuss any updates and necessary next steps moving forward.



The School of Kinesiology had not previously focused their time or energy on planned giving, and this project allowed the development staff to gain a better understanding of giving options and the process of managing planned giving prospects. By reaching out and involving the Office of Gift Planning, the staff at Kinesiology now has better access to their resources and expertise in hopes of securing larger gifts in the future. These efforts will assist the School of Kinesiology in providing additional scholarships for students, funding state-of-the-art research facilities, and preparing the next generation of leaders to make a positive impact on the world.

Skills Gained:

  • Communication
  • Self-Sufficiency
  • Time Management
  • Benchmarking

“No matter what career field you want to enter, D-SIP will provide you with the resources and experiences to become a better professional and a better person.”

– Zach Marentay, D-SIP ‘15