September 14, 2016 | By NACE Staff
Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
Most career centers have a system or model through which employers are able to give and/or contribute to support the center’s efforts. The University of Florida career resource center (CRC) is no different. But in 2011, it started shifting its fundraising focus and efforts to establishing relationships with employer and campus partners, creating value, and strengthening these bonds.
“The relationship piece is at the core of our new fundraising model,” says Heather White, director of the CRC. “We understood the importance of fostering and building relationships, but also the investment of time, talent, and resources necessary to make this work.”
There are 16 colleges within the University of Florida. Campus partners include development and advancement offices, the alumni association, and corporate engagement councils in individual colleges.
“We wanted to create value and use our model to support revenue generation and expansion of our services,” says Ja’Net Glover, senior associate director for career services. “We saw our work in different ways, but still considered the core concepts of fundraising while figuring out cultivation to sustain these partnerships.”
Perhaps the biggest shift in terms of the new fundraising model was that the CRC began viewing itself as a vendor. CRC staff identified the center’s areas of expertise—including planning career services, career fair support, and technology—and revised its employer partner and campus liaison programs to enhance the amenities it offers its partners. Internally, CRC staff took several steps before reaching out to potential partners. The CRC:
Once partners were invited and on board, the CRC assigned a staff member to support each partner and grow the relationship.
Beyond the CRC’s expertise, partners receive various benefits depending on their level of engagement. There are different levels of partnership: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and executive. Among other benefits, the customized executive package—the highest level—includes:
White and Glover have several recommendations for career centers that are considering changing their fundraising efforts to a relationship-focused model:
The shift to the new model has yielded stronger ties between the CRC and its partners, and better fundraising results.
“We’ve seen growth on the resource end and from the financial perspective, but we’ve also seen it from the relationship area as well,” Glover says. “On and off campus, more employers and units recognize the value in working with us.”
Median number of professional career services staff
Percent of career centers housed in student affairs division
Median square footage of career center
Percent of career centers offering for-credit career classes
Percent of career centers conducting first-destination surveys
2017-18 Career Services Benchmark Survey