The Development Office was established to develop, implement, and administer comprehensive fundraising programs and to encourage and increase the level of private sector and in-house support for the University. It represents the University of Alberta in all fundraising endeavours, arranges for and negotiates the terms of charitable donations, accepts and acknowledges all donations on behalf of the University, and handles the receipting and processing of all charitable gifts and pledges.
In 1967, the Public Relations Office assumed responsibility for fundraising. This responsibility was transferred, in 1969, to the Fund Development Office which was established in order to follow up pledges received during the Three Alberta Universities Capital Fund campaign and to service Alumni Association records. Following extensive reviews of the University's public relations, publications, and fund development functions, a new Office of Community Relations was established, amalgamating all three in 1978.
In 1981, the Fund Development Office was re-established as a separate entity, although responsibility for alumni records remained with Community Relations. In 1986, the unit's name was changed to the Development Office.
Today, through mechanisms such as the Prospect Management Committee, the Development Office works collaboratively with colleagues in the faculties to provide strategic direction and coordination. Fund development officers actively solicit financial and in-kind support for their respective faculties' teaching and research activities. Their goal is to increase support substantially in several key areas: capital infrastructure, chairs, scholarships, bursaries, naming opportunities, endowments, and select operating areas. The Development Office has also assigned a senior development officer to work with each faculty, and it also coordinates the campus-wide development activities of the President's Office.
The Development Office also provides centralized support to the campus in planned giving, annual giving consisting primarily of direct mail and a student caller program, donor relations and stewardship, and a new leadership giving program targeted at loyal annual donors. Fundraising staff also advise staff and students on the solicitation of support.