The IITs are now setting up alumni development offices to raise funds as government funding declines.
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are increasingly reaching out to their alumni in India and abroad for funds due to diminishing government funding.
For this, the institutes are setting up alumni development offices in India and abroad and forming teams and alumni boards with outside professionals to provide advice on fundraising to launching pro-active alumni outreach activities. IITs are going all out to attract their well-placed former students to give back to their alma mater.
IIT Delhi, which had raised Rs 250 crore from alumni in October, plans to raise another Rs 1,000 crore by the end of this calendar year. On the other hand, IIT Madras is eyeing a total funding of Rs 450 crore by the end of this fiscal, while IIT Kanpur expects funds to the tune of Rs 300 crore. Last year, IIT Bombay had raised a record Rs 26 crore on its alumni day.
IITs receive government funding for salaries but they have to look for other sources for any other needs or to start anything new.
According to Jayant K Singh, Dean of Resources and Alumni (DORA) at IIT Kanpur, “Government funding will go down with rising cost. Thus, we have to reach out to more alumni to donate generously to the institute. We have taken a loan from the Higher Education Financing Agency, which we have to pay back. This is critical for us to learn how to generate more money.” IIT Kanpur has an endowment kitty of Rs 300 crore and aims to take it to Rs 500 crore in the next three years.
“This year, we have taken up a targeted reach-out of the alumni,” said Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean of international and alumni relations at IIT Madras. “We want to reach Rs 1,000 crore in endowment for the next three years.” The institute has formally created alumni development offices in India, the US and a few other countries that are responsible for engaging the alumni in raising funds.
IIT Delhi is in the process of setting up a committee that will comprise the alumni and members of the IIT faculty who will together decide what will be done to the money collected. “We launched a global alumni endowment fund in October for which we got a commitment of Rs 250 crore,” said Sanjeev Sanghi, dean of alumni affairs and international programmes at IIT Delhi. “We have 50,000 alumni and many of them are doing extremely well and have a keen interest in donating to the institute,” he said.
The institute, which aims to have an alumni funding kitty of Rs 7,000 crore by 2025, is also taking the help of asset management professionals who can advise on how to invest the money. “The alumni need to be confident about where their donation is being used,” Sanghi said. “They also want the fund to be used in a transparent way and want more say in the way the money is used.”
Institutes use the contributions made by alumni for various purposes including setting up infrastructure such as laboratories, hostels, innovation centres, and sports facilities; funding faculty development, giving grants and scholarships to students, endowing chair professorships and building naming initiatives; and funding activities such as participation in international conferences, and on dissemination of research results.
The endowments could come in the form of general funds and donation by batches (around events such as silver jubilee and golden jubilee) to project-based donations, and funding for scholarships, chairs and outreach projects. Though contribution from domestic alumni forms a major part of the fund corpus, there is a rising interest from alumni outside the country to donate more to their institutes.
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