Institutional Advancement hired two recent Hillsdale College graduates to assist in fundraising, event planning, and donor relations.
Following their graduation in the spring, Nathan Lehman ’18 and Danny Drummond ’18 began working as Institutional Advancement associates. The recent hires will form relationships with Hillsdale College supporters and work to secure funds to help the college thrive and expand.
Institutional Advancement is the college’s fundraising and outreach department. According to Senior Advancement Officer Calvin Stockdale ’10, it serves as “the outward-focused voice and face of the college to larger, more significant donors.” To supplement the college’s marketing strategies, the department aims to build long-term, genuine relationships with those that give to Hillsdale.
“It’s a personal touch,” he said.
Lehman, who studied politics and economics, knew he wanted to go into fundraising and development after graduation. As a student, he worked for two years in the Planned Giving department, where he developed a knack and passion for connecting with the college’s supporters. A chance and encouraging encounter with Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn prompted him to submit a cover letter and resume to Vice President of Institutional Advancement John Cervini, and he was soon hired.
Drummond, who majored in marketing and history, was inspired to work for the college after hearing Arnn speak about Hillsdale’s plans for future expansion at a Parents’ Weekend event last spring. A firm believer in Hillsdale’s mission, Drummond realized that he would like to continue to be a part of part of the college as it grows in size and influence. After getting in touch with Arnn and Cervini, it became clear that he would be a perfect fit for the department.
“I’m so very happy to come back,” he remarked.
Institutional Advancement connects with college supporters individually in their hometowns, through events on campus and at events throughout the country. Lehman works a portion of the Midwest, while Drummond is appointed to the Plains states. They travel regularly throughout their territories to meet with supporters and assist with events. They also host and give tours to college supporters who visit campus. The majority of their time is spent preparing for, executing, and following up on meetings and events.
Meeting with college supporters allows Institutional Advancement officers to thank them for their generosity and update them on campus developments.
“We are essentially taking a little piece of Hillsdale to them,” Stockdale said.
Stockdale, Lehman, and Drummond agree that this is imperative, given that many of Hillsdale’s supporters have never visited or otherwise had contact with the college.
It also gives them the opportunity to determine college supporters’ specific interests within the college, and identify how they could grow in their giving relationships by contributing directly to those areas. Lehman said he has found that working with college supporters to formulate their best giving strategies is similar to helping students find their niche on campus.
“The way I see it is we’re trying to help people realize their individual dreams here,” he said.
Institutional Advancement organizes a bevy of events nationwide, including Lifelong Learning Seminars, National Leadership Seminars, Arnn Receptions, Hometown Luncheons, and Freedom Forums. The department also provides supplementary activities for those attending Center for Constructive Alternatives seminars. Institutional Advancement officers help run the events, and connect with college supporters and other attendees.
Lehman and Drummond appreciate that they are representatives of Hillsdale’s ethos and purpose.
“I’m an ambassador for the college to the world. I’m always ready to talk about it,” Lehman said.
Drummond shares a similar view.
“I see my role as spreading the mission of Hillsdale College by forming relationships with people through which I’m able to explain it well,” Drummond said. “So I think that I’m part of the spread of Hillsdale’s ideas just through conversation with people.”
They agree the best part of their job is meeting a variety of quality and intriguing people.
“I love getting to know new people and hearing their stories,” Lehman said, remarking that college supporters are diverse in interests and backgrounds.
Drummond speaks highly of Hillsdale College’s supporters.
“It seems to attract a lot of people who are really uplifting,” he said. “They’re all very kind and of high character and concerned for our country.”
He stressed that students are at the heart of Institutional Advancement’s work.
“What we’re doing in Moss has a direct effect on the students,” Drummond said. He explained that donors’ generosity enables many students to attend Hillsdale College, as their contributions allow the college to trim tuition costs and provide scholarships and financial aid.
Lehman agreed that their work is about the students.
“We really fight for the students,” he said. “We want to see students succeed. Otherwise we wouldn’t be in this job.”
Both associates have found the transition from their roles as students to employees of the college surprisingly seamless. They enjoy keeping up with friends on campus and value the opportunity to apply their commitment to all that the college stands for professionally.
“I’m just really happy to be here,” Lehman said. “I love my coworkers, I love the school. I feel like this is the place that I’m supposed to be right now in my life.”