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December 16, 2002

UCSC gift administration staff brace for year-end giving

By Ann M. Gibb

For the staff of UCSC's Gift Administration Office, holiday giving has an extra meaning: the annual rush of donors hurrying to capture tax deductions by giving year-end donations to the campus.

From left, Jill Misunas, Kathryn Buckholdt, Donna Ghimenti, and Tracy McCullough prepare for the end-of-year giving rush in UCSC's Gift Administration Office. Photo: Ann M. Gibb

"Beginning in December and continuing into early January, we process between 600 and a 1,000 donations to UCSC each week," said Kathryn Buckholdt, coordinator of gift administration. "Next to fiscal closing, it's our busiest time of the year."

To keep up with the rush, at least two members of the four-person gift administration staff work on each of the three vacation days of campus closure. "It's what we choose to do," said Buckholdt. "We get so busy it's hard to walk away and leave the work."

One staff member even works on New Year's Eve, processing last-minute credit card donations arriving from UCSC's online giving site.

Before moving to an off-campus location last year, gift administration was located in the Carriage House.

"During campus closure we'd come to work bundled up in sweaters and bringing a space heater," said Buckholdt. One year the space heater blew a fuse, shutting off power in the entire building.

The new offices, at 509A Swift Street, are more comfortable, but for a few weeks after the move, there was no furniture. "So we just set up the computers on the floor and went on doing our data entry," said Buckholdt.

Their dedication pays off for the campus. One year a prospective donor, wanting to make a year-end $25,000 gift to the library, called the McHenry Library main office. Since it was during campus closure, no staff were there. Next, she tried the University Relations Office, reaching a development officer, who worked with gift administration staff to process the donation before the end of the calendar year.

Large or small, each donation receives the same attention from the Gift Administration Office, and each donation makes a difference for the campus. For more information on year-end giving, including securing the tax benefits, see the "Give to UCSC" page.

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