Don’t Name It

We are all aware of colleges and facilities that offer major donors naming rights for their gift, so we see Halls and Lecture theatres, wards and entire hospitals named after benefactors. And really there is nothing wrong with it.

How about this for turning that idea on its head.

The Wisconsin School of Business has asked donors to support their mission of keeping the colleges name in tact in return for gifts!

Here is the report by Freakonomics writer Steven D.Levitt in the New York Times:

Michael Knettermay just go down in history as one of the greatest fundraisers of all time. Knetter is the dean of the Wisconsin Business School. Other universities have managed to raise substantial amounts of money by naming their business schools after generous donors (think Carlson, Tuck, Goizueta, Sloan, etc.). But Knetter did something far more impressive. He managed to raise $85 million in return for promising not to name the school for the next 20 years. A bunch of boosters liked the fact that the school is simply called the “University of Wisconsin Business School,” and they were willing to pay to keep it that way, at least for 20 years.

As one of my colleagues pointed out, it probably would have been a lot cheaper for the boosters just to bribe the Wisconsin legislature to pass a bill preventing the naming of the business school, although that strategy would not have gotten them many positive headlines.

Apparently, Knetter is now offering a full slate of objects not to name at the business school. For $50,000, you can have a classroom not named after you. For $5,000, you can not have your name on a plaque in the entryway to the building. For those of you with a little less to give, $50 will guarantee that the urinal of your choice will go unnamed. But only for the next 20 years.

What a GREAT idea. I came across this originally on Fundraising Breakthroughs

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