The College Development Office is known by different names at different institutions. Some schools refer to it as the Office of Advancement, or the Office of College Advancement.

Whatever its name, however, its role within the institution remains the same: to support its educational efforts, its needs and strategic plan, and its vision for the future. The way in which the office does this is by cultivating and strengthening relationships with associates of the institution. Said associates might include past alumni, as well as the parents of students past and present. It can also include friends of the college, trustees, current students, faculty and staff, and prominent members of the local community.

Parental and Community Engagement

If you’ve ever heard of a celebrity figure receiving an honorary degree, you’re familiar with the work of a particular institution’s College Development Office. This kind of event is meant to promote, not only the college itself, but the field of study in which an individual is being honored. Other events and resources managed by the office are directed towards parents; college students are classically experiencing their first real steps as independent adults, but digital technology allows for unprecedented parental involvement in the educational process. It’s up to the office to balance these two factors, keeping everybody happy and providing a more supportive and nurturing student environment.

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Processing Gifts and Managing Donations

The Office of Advancement is responsible for managing gifts to the college, through the process of recording and applying them appropriately. The office is responsible for ensuring that donated monies reach the accounts they’re supposed to. There’s a lot involved in this process, one of the most demanding aspects of which is to account for matching gifts — gifts provided by local employers within the community, matching the funds given by their employees. This is a common form of community activism among locally based business and chains, with which the office attempts to foster relationships, sometimes involving community events.

Special Projects and Initiatives

The Office of College Advancement fills a variety of ancillary roles with regard to campus life, all in the interests of ensuring that the college runs as smoothly as possible. For instance, a university’s online presence (its webpage, and associated social media accounts) may be maintained by the office, which also maintains its own distinct online presence. The office is frequently responsible for certain aspects of administrative faculty training, most notably those involved with community interaction. They frequently manage the implementation and subsequent analysis of surveys, polls and other means of gathering information on the thoughts and opinions of students and instructors.

Would You Like to Know More?

The College Development Office at a given university carries the weight of a variety of functions which are often taken for granted, as they tend to occur behind the scenes. Correspondingly, the position of college development officer is a well-compensated position, with the average CDO earning more than $95,000 per year as of 2017.