The following compilation was developed by PRG partners Julie Peterson, Steve Kloehn, and Lisa Rudgers based on our own experiences and a review of best practices nationally.
One increasingly difficult, and perplexing, question for college presidents and their senior leadership teams is determining when to issue an official university statement in the midst of crises or concerning developments, whether they occur on campus or elsewhere around the nation or the globe.
Much has been written about this topic in recent years, and it’s no wonder. (See the end of this essay for a resource list of further reading.) The criticism that followed nearly every statement by a university president in response to the conflict between Israel and Hamas is a painful reminder of the inherent challenges. And that is just the most recent example. College leaders were also praised and pilloried for their response to the murder of George Floyd in 2020, the January 6 insurrection in Washington in 2021 and the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision in 2022, to name just a few. The expectation that university leaders will speak out in response to events beyond their campuses only appears to be accelerating, even as many leaders express growing reservations about taking on that role.Continue reading →
Preserving and enhancing faith in our nation’s scientific enterprise is central to the mission of every college and university. Our peers across higher education have been concerned about a multi-year trend for the public to devalue scientific research and expertise, and especially the growing partisan gap in the perception that science and scientists are trustworthy. The good news is that the pandemic has started to reverse this trend, with both Americans and citizens around the globe reporting renewed trust in science and medicine.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Both in our scanning and in our conversations with clients, we often see themes emerging across the country. One common theme during the pandemic has been: How can we ask our donors for financial support when there is so much hardship out there? Should we change what we are asking for? Should we delay that campaign we’ve been planning?
While we don’t claim to be experts in fundraising, we track those who are. We asked our colleague and research associate Toni Shears to review the literature and share some of the most useful advice that experts across the country are offering. We hope you’ll find Toni’s compilation helpful.
Most professional fundraisers have worked through tough times and economic downturns, but it’s safe to say that none have seen a crisis quite like this. While organizations struggle to offset new costs and lost revenue, fundraisers are under pressure to sustain giving in what looks to be the worst economic downturn of our times.
We are delighted to announce that Steve Kloehn, a senior leader in higher education and communications, has joined co-founders Julie Peterson and Lisa Rudgers as a partner in the Peterson Rudgers Group.