Big, small, we'll take all

November 26, 1999

Phil Baty suggests universities are targeting small donors to avoid the earmarking that sometimes happens with large gifts ("Spare us a million, guv?", THES, November 12). This is far too simplistic.

Universities target many donors. If we ignore smaller ones, they will rarely give, and even more rarely become large ones. If we ignore larger ones then we will never raise the gifts that change institutions.

Baty suggests the "universities' techniques are becoming more ingenious" and then refers to legacies and "cold calling". Legacies have been part of the UK philanthropic agenda for hundreds of years and I know of no UK university that phones alumni without first informing them by letter.

Adrian Beney Deputy director, development and alumni relations, University of Durham

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