The Daily Gamecock

New philanthropy training program set to launch this summer

<p>Cary McNair, the CEO of McNair Interests, a private investment and management company headquartered in Houston, Texas, talks success with USC student entrepreneurs on the Horseshoe on Oct. 12, 2022.&nbsp;</p>
Cary McNair, the CEO of McNair Interests, a private investment and management company headquartered in Houston, Texas, talks success with USC student entrepreneurs on the Horseshoe on Oct. 12, 2022. 

USC is partnering with Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy to launch a philanthropy program this summer to train and employ recent graduates as development coordinators. 

The program, Develop Carolina, will teach graduates the principles and techniques of fundraising over six weeks, beginning in June. After completing the six-week training, graduates will be recognized as certified fundraisers and employed as development coordinators in one of the schools or colleges within USC. 

The Develop Carolina team is planning to hire a cohort of around 20 graduates via an application and interview process. 

Michelle Dodenhoff, the vice president for development at USC, came up with the idea for the program while conducting an inventory of the university’s team for a capital campaign, which is a type of fundraising event. She found that staff recruitment and retention needed improvement.

Develop Carolina looks to offer training so the university can hire more fundraising personnel. According to Dodenhoff, most students don’t consider fundraising a career path, especially during a tough job market. She said the program will be an effective way for graduates to get involved in university work.

“People think of fundraising as hard or uncomfortable, and I'll have people be like, ‘How can you ask people for money?’” Dodenhoff said. “And I say, 'You know, it really isn't about asking people for money.' Really, what it is is developing relationships and hearing someone's passion.”

The first few days of the program will be a general overview of how a university typically operates. The following weeks will include topics such as receiving major gifts and donations, designing capital campaigns and developing donor relations. 

Audra Vaz, the assistant dean for advancement in the School of Music, is also a member of the Develop Carolina team. To her, philanthropy is about using your resources to enhance your passions, which she accomplishes by donating to USC's marching band.

She said that skills used in philanthropy, such as relationship building and listening, are valuable and can be transferred to any job.

“Being empathetic (and) matching people with what they're passionate about — those are all really great skills for anybody to have, but particularly for young people, especially coming out of what we've recently been through with COVID,” Vaz said. “The ability to engage with other humans is great.” 

Instructors from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy will teach Develop Carolina courses throughout the six-week period, while President Amiridis and other university leaders will discuss university work and some possible complications that might arise.

The program is open to all majors but is limited to USC students who graduated within the past year. Program directors hope to offer it again in the future so that more graduates can become involved in and learn about the impact of philanthropy.  

“This is an institution that has been your foundation, that has given you so much,” Teesa Brunson, the senior director of development at the School of Education, said. “Let's do the same for those that are coming behind us.”

The application for the program can be found on USC's website and will remain open until March 30. 

"It doesn't matter what major you are, whether you're a chemistry major or a communications major," Vaz said. "The ideal candidate is somebody who is 'rah rah rah' about South Carolina but also wants to learn and make a difference."