Sep 19 2011


Alumni and friends of The University of Montana donated $20.2 million in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, an increase of more than $6 million over the previous year. The University of Montana Foundation will release these results as part of its annual report mailed to donors in early October. Perhaps most notable is a dramatic increase in online giving.

“We are so grateful for the continued support from across Montana and across the country, both in traditional ways and new ways,” says Laura Brehm, president and CEO of the UM Foundation. “Nearly twice as many people made gifts through the UM Foundation website in FY11 compared to FY10.”

This past year The UM Foundation worked to make it easier for people to make a gift by improving digital communications. The Foundation redesigned its website, adopted a streamlined online giving form and improved its digital newsletter. The total numbers of online gifts more than doubled, going from 220 in FY10 to 511 in FY11. The total dollar amount of gifts made online nearly quadrupled, from $56,554 to $193,172.

“We are embracing the digital age and meeting our donors where they are, and that is online,” says Brehm.

Even with the success of online giving, the UM Foundation remains firmly committed to traditional fundraising methods, like working with the Missoula business community to build the Excellence Fund.  This year The University of Montana Foundation Missoula Business Drive will kick off on Friday, September 23, at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast on campus.

Other highlights of fundraising results from FY11 include:

*The three year giving trend for the UM Foundation was $22.6 million in FY09, $14.1 million in FY10, and $20.2 million in FY11. 

*Approximately 14,500 individuals, business and corporations contributed.

*Half of the $20.2 million donated is in the form of planned gifts, such as bequests or annuities, which UM will receive in the future. Many donors are committing to planned gifts instead of cash gifts while they wait for the economy to stabilize. The University received a $3 million estate gift from Joel and Patti Meier, who were honored at a ceremony on campus in May.

The Foundation also reports strong investment returns for FY11. Brehm says she anticipates the Foundation’s 23.4 percent return on its long-term investment portfolio will be among the strongest investment performances among university foundations, large or small, across the country. This exceptional performance comes after similar success last year when the portfolio returned 15.3 percent.

An electronic copy of The University of Montana’s Annual Report can be found here.                 

Beth Hammock, vice president, strategic communications and marketing, UM Foundation, 406-243-56834,