ANU Principal Gifts program to steward transformative change

By Colin Taylor, Director of Principal Gifts

Transformation is deeply embedded in the impact of giving and one way or another – through research or scholarship or outreach - giving to a University will change a life.

Sometimes, that transformation is writ large. At the first conversation between Graham and Louise Tuckwell and the ANU Vice-Chancellor in 2013, we might have caught a glimpse into the future of the hundreds of students who would benefit, and the remarkable academic enrichment program that binds those students together. But none of us could have imagined the other gifts that their generosity would inspire, nor that their philanthropy would one day change the way that University admissions will be processed across the country.

Over the coming years, ANU will be at the forefront of changing student admission processes to become fairer, more inclusive and better at not reducing students to a single number. It is what we’ve learned through the Tuckwell selection process that has lent us both the impetus and the authority to lead.

The essential quality that enables large-scale philanthropy to have such influence is the strength of its vision. In North America, and more recently in the UK and further afield, gifts of this scale have been described as ‘Principal’ to highlight their importance and their influence. Such gifts can often change not only the institution, but extend far beyond its boundaries.

ANU has now established its own distinct Principal Gifts program to attract philanthropy of this scale, and to build the networks, the enduring relationships and the deep vision required. The threshold for Principal Giving at ANU is defined by the scale of a potential gift, and has been initially set at $5million.

The new Principal Gifts program builds on the firm foundations established by AR&P in managing prospective donors and their gifts and stewarding their relationships. It extends these policies, procedures and practices to manage the complexities in cultivating and soliciting these gifts. More importantly, it sets expectations about the efficiency and professionalism with which programs enabled by Principal Giving are implemented, and the care with which donors are treated before, during and after they have made their gift.

Should you have any questions about the new program, or want to talk through an idea or a contact you may have, don’t hesitate to contact Colin Taylor, Director of Principal Gifts. (, x54830)

Page owner: Alumni, Philanthropy