< Turn Page >
The Johnson School Annual Fund: Class Gifts
Cornell Executive MBA—Palisades

For Executive MBAs who work full time and go to school the "other" full time, the class gift strategy was to divide and conquer. Each of six team members was assigned 10 or 11 classmates. Each made the case for giving and followed up individually. A competition among teams helped keep the campaign energy high and the numbers rising.

Raju Venkatraman, MBA '09
Raju Venkatraman, MBA '09
"To launch the campaign, we invited students to an event with food and drinks. We explained the process and the use of Annual Fund dollars, and we had a computer available for signups," says Venkatraman. "It was a natural extension of how we network with one another." Then team members e-mailed their classmates weekly, giving them updates on the campaign and continuing to solicit their participation.

"In this economy, we approached fundraising carefully. We felt it was important not to reveal the size of individual gifts, so no one would feel uncomfortable," Venkatraman says.