From the stranger than fiction file, The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) reports that more and more colleges are taxing donations to help pay for cash-strapped fund-raising operations.
A tax on a gift? Seems like the last thing development officials would want to inform a donor — some of whom colleges have spent years wooing – is that 3 to 5 percent of your donation will be siphoned off to help retain development staff. And, oh yeah, it’s in an office that can no longer gather enough support to maintain the size of its staff. University officials are hopeful they can “educate” potential donors about the need for greater flexibility in the current economic climate.
A couple of questions emerge from this scenario. First, while I’m not in favor of anyone losing their job, if the development office can’t raise enough funds to justify the additional staff, why should donor funds be used to retain staff who – based on results — haven’t been able to justify their existence? Second, if the “economic slowdown” is used to justify the measures, can we expect colleges will do away with the fees once the economy improves? Yeah, right.