Ask most college or university presidents or chancellors who have taken the helm in the last 10 years what their most important job is, and they will tell you it is finding ways to finance the operations of the institution through private and public resources. And though they may not often articulate it, the key to successful fundraising through private sources or advocacy for public funding is using a complex set of communications tools to reach prospective students, donors and public officials. Effective leadership communication, more than ever today, may very well be pivotal to the future of our higher education institutions. Leaders must make hard choices, almost on a daily basis, and the scenarios they face may be even tougher in the future.
With the advent of increased natural disaster frequency, prevalence of cyber-attacks, and a global pandemic (COVID-19) that has plunged global marketplaces into precarious territory, organizations have more reason than ever to plan for unanticipated threats to their ability to conduct business and keep personnel and assets protected. Colleges and universities are no exception. Not only are enrollment cycles threatened but fundraising – ongoing and major campaigns – immediately began to see their investment portfolios and thus operating cash from endowments slide drastically while anticipated pledge payments started faltering.