Development : FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


How does the Development Office work with the College?

The Development Office works hand-in-hand with the academic departments to bring their initiatives to life, by implementing and fulfilling the required planning and logistics for the overall success of the project.   For example, funds for the renovation of the Science Lecture Hall were raised by private funds. This was a project long over-due!

What do annual gifts support?  

Annual gifts provide much-needed dollars for wide-ranging initiatives such as student scholarships, student travel to professional conferences, funding for student research projects and special lectures and seminars. This category of current gifts is an important source of operational revenue and is used in the year received, making an immediate impact on the lives of students and faculty. For this reason, the annual fund continues to be one of our top priorities.

Why are unrestricted funds so important?

Unrestricted funds are those received from the donor with no limitations on how the gift is to be used. Unrestricted gifts are considered the most powerful form of private support because they permit the College to act with operational and intellectual flexibility based on current need. Unrestricted funds are particularly vital for initiatives and projects for which other sources of funding may be unavailable or inadequate. Unrestricted support is often used for student assistance, faculty support, research aid, and the purchase of books, collections and supplies, as well as enhanced technological capability.


Unrestricted gifts allow the College to deploy resources where need is greatest at the time or where exceptional education or research opportunities exist that may be severely hampered by an extended wait for money to arrive through much more leisurely funding avenues. State funding, for example, often has limitations in how funds can be used, and only supplies about 54% of the College's budget.


When will I be solicited?  

The various campaigns and annual appeals of the College operate on a fiscal year from July1 through June 30. Once a donor has made a contribution to the area he or she desires to support, there should be no more solicitations again during the remainder of that fiscal year.


Each year, the Development Office works together to plan the priorities and solicitation campaigns required by the College's annual goals and operational needs. That planning activity results in an annual activity calendar.

In the fall, there is an annual fund class council letter that goes out, followed by a phone call from a current student in February, if you have not responded.   There may also be one or two other appeals during the academic year, until year's end in June. Once again, each solicitation includes only those alumni or friends who have not responded to an earlier appeal.


For phonathon pledges, an initial confirmation letter is sent immediately following the pledge commitment made over the phone. Two subsequent reminder letters will be sent out if necessary.

Who actually makes the phone calls to prospective donors?  

The annual giving team includes student callers who contact alumni by phone as a first step in identifying donors who wish to make a gift to the College.   


Detailed training is provided to student callers, before they ever make that first phone call, providing them with the skills and confidence to conduct business calls with prospective donors in a professional, respectful manner.


When you receive the annual mailing, or hear from one of our students, we ask that you get to know our current students and seriously consider pledging to the annual fund.

Why would I receive more than one solicitation from the UVa-Wise  

Generally, various the College will solicit alumni or friends who have given to that area in the past, or who may seem likely to have an interest in contributing to UVa-Wise.


During the year, you may receive a number of solicitations, in addition to the informational mailings sent by the UVa-Wise Alumni Association, the Athletic Department or any notices or newsletters sent by other units on campus.

How may I direct my gift?  

On each direct mail appeal you receive or at the time of a phonathon call from one of our student callers, you may designate the area(s) you would like to support with your gift. Usually, donors select a fund that they have given to in the past, but there is always the opportunity for you to leave your gift unrestricted. The content of the letter or the phonathon call that you receive typically indicates how your gift will be used. If you have additional questions or need further information, the Development staff can provide answers for you.

How will my gift be used?  

As the donor, you decide how your gift will be used. Typically, the majority of the gifts received by the College are designated by the donor.

Unrestricted funds are used at the College's discretion to cover costs to support initiatives for which other funding may not be available, such as recruiting outstanding faculty, recognizing exceptional teaching and academic performance, conducting specific learning events pertinent to our times, supporting student leadership development and developing activities that can be used to promote and share discoveries and knowledge with the public. Unrestricted funds provide a pool of available resources that can easily be directed to where they are needed most.

How can I make an annual gift?  

You may make an annual gift at any time to UVa-Wise.   If you have not received a direct mail appeal or a recent phone call, simply contact Valerie Lawson at (276) 376-4523 or email If you would like to make your gift online, click HERE.

If you have recently received a direct mail appeal with an enclosed pledge card and reply envelope, please complete and return it with your check or credit card information. All gifts are handled with complete security and confidentiality.

Also keep in mind that the company that you work for may have a matching gifts program. For more information, start by checking with your company's human resources department. This is an easy and exciting way to enlarge the impact of your own gift, providing support at double or even triple the amount of your gift.  

If you have any questions, please call us at (276) 328-0129 or email and we will be happy to assist you.


Click HERE for Cash Gifts                      Click HERE for Planned Giving



Office of Development & College Relations
The University of Virginia's College at Wise
1 College Avenue
Wise, VA  24293