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Development Guide:
Constituent and Volunteer Relations

Giving News

The role of Constituent and Volunteer Relations (CVR) is to facilitate mutually beneficial relationships between The University of Texas at Austin and its donors, alumni, and friends. Many projects are done in conjunction with or on behalf of the Office of the President. The CVR staff is among the multitude of campus professionals involved in constituent or volunteer relations and stewardship efforts for the university. Primary responsibilities of the CVR staff include:

  • Acknowledge donors of campus-wide major gifts on behalf of UT
  • Acknowledge donors making gifts to the Office of the President
  • Manage University-wide major donor recognition society
  • Manage President’s Associates member acknowledgments
  • Endowment establishment stewardship letters
  • Define target constituencies for select communications/events
  • Manage University Development Board
  • Track select key constituencies on VIP system

Overview

Constituent Relations

  • Donor Gift Acknowledgments

Donor Acknowledgments for Major Gifts
Gifts to the Office of the President

  • Donor Societies

President’s Associates (Gift Acknowledgments)
Littlefield Society
Chancellor’s Council

  • Constituent Relations – Other

Events, hosted by the president or Development Office
Regional donor/prospect communications, such as President’s Newsletter
Condolence Letters from the President
Constituent Relations VIP Data Maintenance

Volunteer Relations

  • University Development Board
  • Advisory Councils for Colleges, Schools, or Units and Other Councils
  • Other Volunteer Councils affiliated with Colleges, Schools, or Units
  • Primary Contacts

Constituent Relations

Donor Gift Acknowledgments

The Acknowledgment Coordinator on the CVR staff is responsible for managing personal letters to individual donors in appreciation for major gifts benefiting UT. The purpose of such acknowledgments is to thank donors on behalf of the University for their gifts, acknowledging the importance and impact private philanthropy has on the overall lifeblood of the University. These personalized letters do not serve as a gift receipt; rather, the letters follow separately from gift receipts sent out by Gift and Data Services.

Who are the donors acknowledged by personal letters?
The Acknowledgment Coordinator drafts and manages all letters sent to major donors, benefiting nearly all areas of UT, based on the following basic criteria.

Individual donor gifts given outright, in-kind, or pledged (including gifts made through family foundations):

$100,00+ signed by president
$24,000 – $99,999 signed by vice president for development

All Planned Gift Donors – signed by president

Note: Corporate, and Professional and Independent Foundation letters are handled by Corporate and Foundation Relations Office

Exceptions: If requested by a department, development officer, etc., a donor who gives a gift that does not meet the standard guidelines will receive an acknowledgment from the president or the vice president.

The Acknowledgment Coordinator contacts CSU representatives as necessary to obtain purpose and impact of gift as well as other information that will help personalize the letters sent to these donors. At times there are donors whose gifts do not require this type of acknowledgment, and the Coordinator determines this based on established guidelines already in place or in consultation with CSUs as necessary.

Are donor acknowledgment letters tracked on VIP?
Yes, donor gift acknowledgment letters signed by the president or the vice president for development handled by CVR are imaged on the VIP system, on the record of the donor or entity acknowledged for the gift.

To view an image of an acknowledgment letter: a) Go to the appropriate donor record on VIP and select “List Electronic Images” for that donor; or, b) Look up a major donors gift list on VIP, and select the expanded view of a particular gift. Imaged documents are noted by text and a link shown on the screen that can be clicked to connect to the Electronic Images page in VIP for that donor. Finally, on their list of electronic images, look under Document Description for entries titled “Gift Correspondence,” or similar title, and open the image to view the correspondence.

Office of the President Gift Acknowledgments
The Acknowledgement Coordinator is responsible for managing personal letters of acknowledgment to donors providing gifts that benefit the Office of the President, or gifts of $1,000 or more for the “University’s area of greatest need” (gifts to this latter designation are managed by the Office of the President). The purpose for these letters is to have the president thank donors who benefit his or her office, acknowledging the importance and impact private philanthropy has on the University, no matter the level of gift made.

Who are the donors acknowledged by personal letters?
All donors making gifts that benefit the Office of the President or the “University’s area of greatest need” are sent letters. Each letter is signed by the president, through coordination by CVR with that office, and letters are mailed out by the Office of the President. These personalized letters do not serve as a gift receipt; rather, the letters follow separately from gift receipts sent out by Gift and Data Services.

Are these acknowledgment letters tracked on VIP?
Yes, these acknowledgment letters signed by the president, handled by CVR, are imaged on the VIP system (effective gifts made in FY09-10), on the record of the donor or entity acknowledged for the gift.  Only letters relating to gifts of $1,000 or more are imaged.

To view an image of an acknowledgment letter: a) Go to the appropriate donor record on VIP and select “List Electronic Images” for that donor; or, b) Look up a major donors gift list on VIP, and select the expanded view of a particular gift. Imaged documents are noted by text and a link shown on the screen that can be clicked to connect to the Electronic Images page in VIP for that donor. Finally, on their list of electronic images, look under Document Description for entries with titles regarding acknowledgment letters, and open the image to view the correspondence.

Endowment Establishment Stewardship Letters
The CVR Development Associate works in collaboration with the Endowment Services team to send out letters to donors, honorees, or other designated stewardees of newly established or amended endowments. These letters are from the executive director of endowment services, and are intended to let the individual(s) know their new (or amended) endowment has received approval by the UT System. Courtesy copies of these letters are sent to appropriate contacts at CSUs for their reference, and images of letters are stored in VIP by name of the individual recipients of the letters.

Donor Recognition Societies

Donor recognition societies are designed to recognize and express appreciation to those whose significant contributions have made an incalculable difference to UT. There are three primary University-wide donor recognition societies that are administered by the University Development Office, including President’s Associates, Littlefield Society, and the Texas Leadership Society (the latter society is managed by the Office of Gift Planning). UT System also oversees a recognition society called the Chancellor’s Council.

President’s Associates
The overall President’s Associates program is managed by Annual Giving. Donor acknowledgment correspondence is managed by the CVR team in consultation with Annual Giving. The Acknowledgment Coordinator is responsible for producing acknowledgment letters for the president to each individual household qualifying for President’s Associates membership.

(A more in-depth description of this donor recognition society is available in its own section in the DevGuide titled “President’s Associates.”)

Who are the President’s Associates?
Established in 1972 by a group of alumni and friends, President’s Associates are an influential community of donors who support strong leadership at the University. Individuals recognized in this donor society support the Office of the President through significant unrestricted gifts.

How do donors qualify to become a part of the Society?
Membership in this society is based on giving to the Office of the President (or, the “University’s area of greatest need”), reviewed on an annual basis from September 1 to August 31 as the fiscal year.

Annual Member giving requirement

$2000 annual gift if over age 35
$750 annual gift if below age 35, or a member of UT faculty/staff (or UT Retiree)

Lifetime Member giving requirement

$25,000 President’s Associates Endowment
$100,000 Outright or lifetime cumulative giving to Office of the President (Excellence Fund)
$100,000 President’s Excellence Fund Endowment (Excellence Fund)

Employer matching gifts count toward the total giving in the household.

How are donors notified when they are eligible for membership?
Each member is welcomed into the society as they qualify, throughout the year, by a personal acknowledgment letter from the president. The Acknowledgment Coordinator is responsible for reviewing a weekly report showing gifts to the Office of the President (or, “University’s area of greatest need”) and confirms the list of donors who qualify for membership in cooperation with the Annual Giving office. A President’s Associates membership roster is published annually, and all members are sent a copy of the roster by the Annual Giving office in the fall noting the previous fiscal year’s members.

Are these acknowledgment letters tracked on VIP?
Yes, these acknowledgment letters signed by the president or the associate vice president for development handled by CVR are imaged on the VIP system (effective gifts made in FY09-10), on the record of the donor or entity acknowledged for the gift.

To view an image of an acknowledgment letter: a) Go to the appropriate donor record on VIP and select “List Electronic Images” for that donor; or, b) Look up a major donors gift list on VIP, and select the expanded view of a particular gift. Imaged documents are noted by text and a link shown on the screen that can be clicked to connect to the Electronic Images page in VIP for that donor. Finally, on their list of electronic images, look under Document Description for entries with titles regarding acknowledgment letters, and open the image to view the correspondence.

How are members identified on the VIP system?
Any individual household that qualifies for President’s Associates membership will be noted by an involvement code on their record in the VIP system. The code indicates their membership status, such as a current member (through an annual gift), if they are junior or faculty/staff level, or a life member through endowed or major lifetime gifts made.  Past members are also noted. These involvement codes are managed by the Annual Giving staff.

What are the member benefits?

Littlefield Society
The CVR team manages all aspects of this premier giving society at the University. The Development Associate assists with Littlefield Society.

What is Littlefield Society?
The Littlefield Society was established in 1991 as a lifetime giving society to recognize and express appreciation to those whose significant contributions have made an incalculable difference to the University. Individual donors in Littlefield Society personify the philanthropic spirit at the University. (Recognition for corporations and foundations is not offered.)

How do donors qualify to become a part of the Society?
Membership in this prestigious society is based on cumulative gifts to the University. Once a donor’s household giving total reaches $25,000, they are recognized with lifetime membership. Other ways to qualify include making a pledge of $25,000 or a planned gift of $50,000 or more. All UT Austin gifts and any employer matching gifts count toward the total giving in the household, regardless of what college, school, or program benefited from the donor’s generosity. Charitable gifts to UT Athletics, KUT, Law School Foundation, and Texas Exes are also eligible. Littlefield Society membership complements any other recognition societies to which a donor may belong, including the President’s Associates and Texas Leadership Society at the University, and the Chancellor’s Council at the UT System. There are no dues to pay.

How are donors notified when they are eligible for membership?
Members are welcomed into the society every other month. The CVR staff is responsible for reviewing a report on lifetime giving and confirming the list of donors at UT Austin who currently qualify for membership. The president of UT extends a personal letter of recognition acknowledging the donor when their lifetime giving level has qualified for Littlefield Society membership. This correspondence is drafted and managed by CVR.

The CVR team then sends a welcome packet to new members with an introductory letter, response form, AccessUT booklet (see member benefits section below for details).

How are members identified on the VIP system?
Any individual who has qualified for Littlefield Society membership will be noted by an involvement code on their record in the VIP system. Some are noted as “joint” members (that is, a couple is a member for the lifetime giving). There are also “individual” memberships for singles or one spouse who prefers the recognition alone. The codes have a two digit extension at the end, denoting a year the individuals’ household was welcomed into Littlefield Society membership. Rarely, individuals decline recognition, but if someone does, they are noted to have “declined.”

What are the member benefits?
Each fall, and as new members qualify, members are sent an AccessUT booklet. This booklet provides coupons for special privileges including discounts, event invitations, and complimentary or reduced admission to some facilities and activities. The goal of AccessUT is to provide special access to offerings by UT’s colleges, schools, and units and to allow our constituents to experience UT based on their own interests.

Littlefield Society individual members may be guests of the president at occasional UT receptions. These may include regional events held in major/target cities. The CVR staff works with the University Events team to determine Society members to be invited to these events.

Finally, Littlefield Society member receive communications from the president and through Development to keep them informed of the latest UT news, through CVR staff working with other program areas as necessary such as Communications or Analytics. Members receive communications, Changing the World, a publication demonstrating the impact of philanthropy at the University.

Chancellor’s Council

What is the Chancellor’s Council?
The Chancellor’s Council is a unique association managed by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for External Relations at UT System. Founded in 1965, the Chancellor’s Council represents a vast group of dedicated supporters of the UT System. Individuals become members of the Chancellor’s Council based on their past record of private support of one of the 15 member institutions in the UT System, which includes UT Austin.

How do donors qualify to become members of Chancellor’s Council?
Membership is open to individual households whose cumulative cash contributions to a system institution have reached the level of $10,000, have made a pledge of $10,000+ or who have a planned gift valued at $15,000 or more. Membership is extended through a letter from the Chancellor (mailed out by UT System), and acceptance into the Council carries no requirement for further giving by the donor.

How are donors notified when they are eligible for membership?
The Director for CVR is responsible for reviewing the list of donors at UT Austin whose gifts qualify them for membership, working with the Donor Records staff. The donors’ names are submitted to UT System annually in August, via memo from the University Development Office to the Office of the Vice Chancellor.

How are members identified on the VIP system?
Any individual who has qualified for Chancellor’s Council membership is noted by an involvement code on their record in the VIP system.  The codes indicate current membership status, such as current or past. Rarely, individuals decline recognition, but if someone does, they are noted to have “declined.” The declines are marked on VIP after UT System notifies UT Austin’s Donor Records or CVR staff of these situations.

What are the member benefits?
UT System hosts an annual reception in May for all system-wide members, usually held on the UT Austin campus. Members also receive routine communications from the Office of the Chancellor.

To learn more about the Chancellor’s Council, including activities and membership benefits, contact:

Chancellor’s Council
The University of Texas System
Office of the Vice Chancellor for External Relations
512-499-4777; fax 512-499-4782
website: http://www.utsystem.edu/chancellorscouncil/
contact email:  chancellorscouncil@utsystem.edu

Constituent Relations – Other

Events hosted by the president or Development
The primary Development Office staff responsible for presidential and development events coordination is the University Events Office. The CVR staff collaborates with University Events and other University Development Office staff to support presidential and development events. The CVR team primarily assists with:

  • Developing invitation lists from VIP. The team may propose and/or refine potential target groups to be invitees for such events. The CVR team pulls data from VIP reports, and at times works with the Analytics staff to pull VIP data reports
  • Updating VIP data for appropriate invitee address and other information
  • Tracking attendees and/or other invitee records in VIP, for follow-up correspondence from the president or other communications, after the event

Communications, such as Changing the World
The primary Development staff responsible for presidential and Development communications is the Communication Team, and/or University Communications. The CVR staff assists these two areas when requested, to help determine appropriate constituencies to receive communications.

Condolence Letters from the President Regarding Major Donors and Volunteers, or UT Faculty and Staff
The Development Associate is responsible for managing condolence letters from the president to the family or other contacts of major donors or volunteers who have passed away. Personal letters of condolence are sent regarding deceased donors whose household giving to UT has been $100,000 or more; or, regarding an individual who served in a key volunteer or leadership role; or, upon request from a major gift officer or the Office of the President.

The Acknowledgment Coordinator is also responsible for managing condolence letters from the president to the family or other contacts of UT faculty and staff (current or retired) who have passed away.

Constituent Relations VIP Data Maintenance
The CVR team is responsible for maintaining several types of data VIP records regarding constituent relations activities. Several types are mentioned in sections for the program area. Among the types constituent relations activities managed by the CVR team:

  • Involvement Codes for

– Donor Societies: Littlefield Society, Chancellor’s Council
– Volunteers:  Development Board, CSU Official Advisory Councils, Law School Board of Trustees, and some select additional councils; former councils include the Commission of 125, and We’re Texas Campaign Councils
– Miscellaneous: UTIMCO Board, UT Foundation Board

  • Salutations, when necessary, for

– President’s salutations (DB PO) for constituents CVR directly contacts
– Formal salutations (VI FORMAL) for constituents CVR directly contacts
– Littlefield Society member roster names (DB LS)
– Development Board member roster name, in special cases (DB DEVBOARD)
– Nametag Names, in some circumstances (DB SPNT)
– Vice President for Development

The CVR team monitors and stays abreast of the many ways key constituencies may be tagged on VIP, in order to strategize on target groups for development efforts.  The team also updates biographical data as needed and works directly with Donor Records, IT, Research, and Analytics staff.

Volunteer Relations

UT has many volunteer groups involved in development efforts for the University. Through the University of Texas System’s Board of Regents, formal volunteer councils are authorized to be created for development and relations efforts at the University-wide level, and at each primary college, school, or unit level. In addition, the Regents authorized the establishment of an external Law School Foundation Board many years ago to directly benefit the School of Law. Other volunteer council formed for development-related efforts must be authorized by the appropriate dean or director of the primary CSU in agreement with the president. See Board of Regents Rules and Regulations:

Section 6000, Rule 60302, Section 1 – Advisory Councils of an Institution (last amended 8/10/06)

University Development Board

The CVR team is responsible for providing staff support for all Development Board communications, annual meetings, and membership, through direction of the University Development office administration.

The Development Office administration and principal gift officers serve as the primary liaison staff to the Development Board members.

 

What is the University Development Board?
The University Development Board is the president’s key advisory group on the University’s overall advancement agenda. The Board works to support the mission of the University and strategic priorities outlined by the president. The Development Board was established at the onset of the institution’s advancement efforts, to encourage and foster private giving to UT and has been in existence since the 1930’s.

The University Development Office works with Board members as directed by the president, and provides staff support for the Board. The Development Board, and its bylaws, is authorized by the UT System Board of Regents, with approval of the UT president. See Board of Regents Rules and Regulations:

Section 6000, Rule 60301 – Development Board an Institution

Who are the members of the University Development Board?
Members include individuals who have demonstrated a long-term commitment to UT and provide strategic influence on UT’s external constituencies in their communities. Members are alumni, donors or friends of the institution, interested in supporting the president and the institution’s overall mission, particularly through fostering a culture of philanthropy and support for the role of higher education among the University’s public.

Membership is by nomination. The UT president is designated by the Board of Regents to make Development Board member appointments. The Board, through its bylaws, takes nominations annually for membership in the spring/summer and, through that process, new members are proposed to the president for consideration and appointments effective September 1. Members may serve two consecutive three-year terms. Upon completion, members are invited to accept life-member status, or are withdrawn from the Board. The Board currently has a Chairman and Chair-Elect for its officers.

All Development Board member names are required to be reported annually to the UT System office. The CVR staff is responsible for this annual membership report.

How are members noted on the VIP system?
Development Board members are noted in the VIP System with an involvement code. The code will denote if the member type, such as an officer, active current member, life member, special ex-officio, or ex-officio member.  Past members and past chairmen are also noted.

When does the Board meet?
The Board meets on campus twice a year, in the fall and in the spring.

University Development Board reference resources:
More information about the Board can be obtained from the CVR staff.

References available currently:
University Development Board Information and Roster of Membership
University Development Board By-Laws

 

Advisory Councils for Colleges, Schools or Units

The CVR team is responsible for assuring all official Advisory Council members are noted appropriately on the VIP system. The CVR team is also responsible for assisting CSUs with questions regarding the establishment or maintenance of advisory and other volunteer councils on campus affiliated with development efforts.

What are CSU Advisory Councils?
The UT System Board of Regents officially sanctions Advisory Councils for each college, school, and comparable unit at an institution. These councils serve an advisory role to Deans and Directors regarding development efforts and external relations, or other areas in which volunteer input is deemed of consequence by the Dean/Director. Advisory Council appointments and membership, as well as by-laws and operating guidelines, are all managed by the CSU, in accordance with System and University policies. The UT president is designated as the main point of approval for an Advisory Council to be established.

CSU Advisory Councils are sanctioned by the UT System Board of Regents
Section 6000, Rule 60301 – Advisory Councils of an Institution

Who are the members of CSU Advisory Councils?
Advisory Council members promote and support the mission of a CSU in a manner determined by the dean or the director, and provide assistance in increasing private philanthropic support. Advisory councils consist of members approved by the Dean or Director of CSU. A dean or director, and the president, are ex-officio member per the Regents Rules. It is required that by-laws for each council define membership terms of appointment. Member terms officially begin on September 1.

The annual membership appointment process for Advisory Councils is designated by the president to be managed by the appropriate Dean or Director of the CSU, The University Development Office is designated by the UT president to assist and advise CSUs on the process of new appointments to advisory council membership.

How are members noted on the VIP system?
All official CSU Advisory Council members should be noted in the VIP System with an involvement code or activity code managed by the college, school or unit.

Member involvement codes for advisory councils must be applied, currently, by the CVR team.  This is because the involvement codes screen for the VIP system is currently constructed and managed in the Mainframe system, and has no web management access. Therefore, all updates must be requested of the Director of CVR, the Development Specialist, or Development Associate.

When do CSU Advisory Councils meet?
Advisory Councils typically meet two times a year, each fall and in the spring, but some meet more often. Also, some have established working committees or special task forces within the council, which meet more often as subgroups of the overarching council.

Other Volunteer Councils

The University has other external volunteer groups as well, that may be a departmental level or other level that is below the college/school/unit advisory council and Development Board. These volunteer groups should all be ultimately responsible to work in concert with the University’s primary volunteer groups, the president, and/or their corresponding deans, directors, or University administrators.

All volunteer groups, if involved in any development efforts whatsoever, should be approved by the appropriate, highest level administrator, such as dean/unit director, and with agreement from the president. This is to ensure there is agreement and understanding of how this council will work in concert with the overarching advisory council, and will comply with prospect management processes in the campus’ development operations.

Activity Code Training

The director of the CVR team is the primary trainer for the VIP Activity Code system.  Training sessions are held monthly, and Development professionals across campus are encouraged to take the hands-on training when convenient by enrolling through the TXCLASS system on UTDirect. The upgraded, web-based Activity Code system was developed in summer 2012 by the Development Office IT programming team.  It provides a robust system to track relationships of alumni/donors/friends to UT.

Contacts

Dianne McManigle
Director
Development Board, Littlefield Society, Other Volunteers, Constituent Data, and VIP Activity Code training
diannem@austin.utexas.edu
512-475-9610

Jen Li
Assistant Director
Regional Donor and Prospect Events, and Constituent Data
jli@austin.utexas.edu
512-232-4186

Melissa Petrek Myer
Acknowledgment Coordinator
Major Donor, President’s Associates, Office of the President, and Planned Giving Acknowledgements
mmyer@austin.utexas.edu
512-471-6719

Pat Nealon
Development Associate
Endowment establishment stewardship letters, President’s Condolence Correspondence, Littlefield Society Membership, provides support for overall CVR Team
pnealon@austin.utexas.edu
512-471-2375

Updated Dec. 23, 2016

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