Elevate Philanthropy ™
Sign up for our mailing list
Success Story

Stony Brook University

Dynamic public university reaches new heights through a $600 million+ campaign

The Situation

Based on Long Island, Stony Brook University is an internationally recognized research institution within the State University of New York system. As the institution’s reputation blossomed, its leadership wished to position the university for its farthest-reaching campaign yet. With a lead gift already in hand, university leaders knew they needed to grow the advancement office in order to reach Stony Brook’s goals.


The Solution

We partnered with the university on several planning studies. The first was a comprehensive benchmarking survey, comparing Stony Brook to similar institutions in categories both broad (total dollars raised, budget, alumni population) and focused (total dollars raised per fundraising full-time employee, average contribution by donor). The survey also included an analysis of key performance metrics, such as close rates and closed dollar values.

Following the benchmarking, we created department and frontline fundraising productivity plans. This established much-needed support within departments and looked ahead toward doubling fundraising staff. We finished with a unit fundraising plan to inspire a culture of philanthropy and support among academic leaders.


The Success

Our benchmarking study led to greater investment in staff. University leadership was then able to use our planning budgets—which included new hires and salary growth, along with projected year-over-year fundraising outcomes—to take the guesswork out of recruitment. As Stony Brook focused on frontline fundraisers, the advancement office developed a newly efficient approach that resulted in smaller portfolios and fewer visits, but greater gift amounts. To date, the campaign has raised more than $630 million.


“Every single team was able to work with Graham-Pelton and come out with clear-eyed plans for their units that were fundamentally sound with prospects and priorities. We continuously measured ourselves against the recommendations of each plan’s goals, targets, and timelines.”


Dexter A. Bailey, Jr.

Former Senior Vice President for Advancement & Executive Director

Stony Brook Foundation

You can raise more money. We can show you how.