Claflin University was recently referred as model for fundraising at HBCUs by the The Huffington Post. The institution’s alumni backed that statement up in 2011 as 45 percent of them contributed financially to Claflin.

The 45 percent alumni giving rate is the highest ever experienced by the University. Vice President for Institutional Advancement Rev. Whittaker V. Middleton, ’73, said the lofty mark is a testament to quality of his staff and the dedication of Claflin’s leal and loyal alumni.

He believes the University is on the right track to hit the goal of a 50 percent alumni giving rate in very near future. The University has launched in recent years the “First to 50” campaign, an effort to position Claflin as the first HBCU to have an alumni giving rate of 50 percent.

“This speaks to highly effective fundraising programs at Claflin University. We have a lot of alumni who really care about their institution,” Middleton said.

For the past two years, U.S. News and World Report has acknowledged Claflin as having the top alumni giving percentage in the nation among HBCUs.

The Division of Institutional Advancement has implemented several new and innovative approaches to increase fundraising. The University Call Center was opened in 2010 to reach out to alumni and friends for support and extend gratitude for past contributions. Also, Claflin has started area campaigns in large cities such as Atlanta and New York where there are large concentrations of alumni.

“We’re meeting our alumni face-to-face. We’re getting out of the office,” Middleton said.

Chapters of the Claflin University International Alumni Association (CUIAA) are becoming more involved and developing individualized fundraising programs as well. Alumni and other supporters are also able to give online through the University Web site or by swiping their credit cards via a cell phone and I-Pad program while on campus.

Manager of the Annual Fund Marcus Fogle, ’11, is also engaging current students to be more philanthropic through the Pre-Alumni Council.

“Claflin is giving our alumni more opportunities to give back,” Fogle said.

Middleton believes alumni are very proud of the institution given its national rankings, aesthetically pleasing campus and top notch academic programs.

“It’s not any one thing but a number of things that are contributing to our success,” said Middleton.

CUIAA President Liz Zimmerman Keitt, ’70, said her organization is engaging people within their chapters and mobilizing a special fundraising committee to enhance alumni giving. Also, every CUIAA chapter is hosting a special event, such as a luncheon or gala, every year to raise funds for the institution. In addition, CUIAA is conducting alumni leadership training and wealth management seminars.

“Claflin University alumni are visionaries who produce action. We are a dynamic, motivated group who will soon become the first HBCU to reach 50 percent alumni giving,” said Keitt.