Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Gift Publicity Policy

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Gifts to Franklin & Marshall College reflect confidence in the College and a commitment to its future. It is important that they be appropriately recognized. The Office of College Communications supports the College's fund-raising efforts in ways that are consistent with journalistic practices and sound news judgment. 
 
In doing so, the office considers the needs of the College, the wishes of the donor and the standards and practices of the news media. Successful gift announcements publicize an important College priority and communicate directly to key constituencies while respecting a donor’s desire for recognition. Institutional credibility is undermined when official Franklin & Marshall sources publicize information unlikely to interest people not affiliated with the College. Good donor relations is essential to the College’s success in and must be accompanied by effective communications and professional media relations. It is counterproductive to sacrifice one for the other, even in the short term.
 
Publicizing a gift that has not been properly documented and recorded  or without fully understanding possible complexities regarding the gift agreement or legal donor can adversely impact the donor and the College. College Communications will write and release news of gifts in accordance with the following guidelines, which have been approved by the president of the College. These guidelines also apply to content that appears on College websites and in print publications, e-mail messages and newsletters, speeches, presentations, social media and other communication vehicles employed by F&M programs, departments and offices.
 

Guidelines

 
1. Public announcement of a gift must be approved in principle by the vice president for college advancement or his or her designee. No announcement will be made without the consent of the aforementioned.
 
2. College Communications will try to interest the news media in any gift that might be viewed by media outlets as newsworthy. Gifts are most likely to attract media interest if they are large in size (generally $1 million or more) or if they are associated with new or innovative programs or facilities. These announcements generally will be made by the president of the College, but other officers may be asked to serve as spokesperson when appropriate.  Faculty members, students and/or the donor may be asked to comment.
 
3. Announcements may be made of gifts of less than $1 million at the request of the president or the vice president for college advancement; or if the vice president for college communications believes the gift is likely to attract media interest because of its unusual or local source, nature or circumstances or because it funds innovative programs or facilities that may in themselves be newsworthy.
 
4. Announcement of a gift must include the amount of money involved. A large gift may be newsworthy even if the donor prefers to remain anonymous, but no gift of unspecified amount is newsworthy, no matter who the donor is. Announcing a gift that does not contain this basic fact damages the credibility of both the institution and the donor.
 
5. Consistent with the College’s gift-acceptance policy, before any gift is announced, it must be recognized officially as a gift or pledge by the College and must be entered appropriately into the College's gift records system. 
 
6.  Gift announcements shall be made only with the permission of the donor to publicize the gift according to College policy.
 
7.  In general, if Franklin & Marshall has previously announced a $1 million+ gift from a donor, that gift should be mentioned in an announcement about a new gift from the same donor. If F&M has previously announced a gift in the $500,000 to $1 million range, it may be appropriate to mention that gift in an announcement of a new gift from the same donor, and appropriate development staff should be consulted.
 
Procedures
 
1. In preparation for a gift announcement, the director of media relations will confer with the director of advancement services  to verify documentation and official entry in the gift-recording system. The director of media relations will also consult with the appropriate member of the development staff regarding any complications in the gift agreement or in F&M’s ability to announce the gift.   
 
2. Once the vice president for college advancement or the development officer who is the primary liaison to the donor has notified the donor of the College's desire to publicize the gift, and the donor has consented to that publicity, the director of media relations will prepare a gift announcement in consultation with the appropriate member of the development staff. The director of media relations or in some cases the appropriate development officer will ask the donor for a comment to be included in the announcement. A quote from the donor is optional, and an announcement may be issued without one if the donor has no objections to the release of other information about the gift.
 
3. The director of media relations is responsible for determining what internal approvals of the announcement draft and quotations are necessary, as well as for suggesting the timing of the announcement. The director will obtain said approvals, and oversee final editing, scheduling, and distribution plans for all announcements. If substantive changes are made, the appropriate parties will be asked to provide additional review.  No draft shall be sent to the donor for review until it has been reviewed and approved by all of the F&M parties involved in this process.
 
4. After the draft has received approval within the campus, the director will send the draft to the donor for approval, either directly or through the development officer. Following consultation with the vice president for advancement about any significant changes proposed by the donor, final decisions about the content and timing of the announcement will be made by the vice president for college communications. F&M will respect the wishes of a donor who asks to remain anonymous or who prefers not to be quoted, but who has no objections to the release of other information about the gift.
 
5. No announcement of a gift will occur until the steps outlined above have been completed. Generally, the announcement will be made first to the campus community by e-mail, although College Communications may allow a single news outlet, generally the Lancaster newspaper or the donor’s hometown newspaper, to break the news a few hours earlier. Following the campus announcement, the College will announce the gift in selected news media and in official Franklin & Marshall media (The Diplomat, Franklin & Marshall Magazine, F&M Headlines, etc.), and F&M students will run a story on the gift in the College Reporter. Announcements may not be made on F&M departmental websites, newsletters, e-mail, social networks or microblogs, or by outside sites and newsletters, until the College itself has announced the news.The president of the College has final authority and responsibility for determining the official dissemination of all news from Franklin & Marshall College. The president has delegated responsibility for content, accuracy, timeliness, completeness and professionalism of communications with the news media to the vice president for college communications, who in turn has delegated that day-to-day responsibility to the director of media relations.

Last update: 9 May 2013