University of Oxford

Supporting the integration of international fundraising

Before 2023, the North American Office of The University of Oxford – based in New York and a legally separate subsidiary – acted largely as an independent and autonomous outpost. A strategic decision was made in 2022 to integrate all of Oxford’s global advancement activity into the central University of Oxford Development Office. The process would bring the North America office – alongside those of Oxford’s other international offices in Hong Kong, Japan and Europe – under the leadership of a new Director of Global Philanthropy.

The brief
While the Global Director was being appointed, Oxford’s Chief Development and Alumni Engagement Officer, Liesl Elder, approached More Partnership for interim support to streamline the transition and integration of activities across the Atlantic. More already had a long-standing relationship with the University, having completed a recalibration feasibility study and campaign review for the £4bn ‘Oxford Thinking’ campaign, as well as a variety of other projects and interim support in recent years.

A safe and reliable pair of hands was provided by More Partner, Adrian Punaks, who worked alongside the Oxford Development Office leadership team and the Director of the New York Office for two days a week over a period of six months. Adrian’s previous role as Executive Director of Development at UCL between 2011 and 2023 meant he brought recent senior-level leadership and management experience within a complex and multinational fundraising institution.

Pragmatic and hands-on support
Adrian provided immediate on-the-ground support to the North American fundraising team, connecting with leadership across the central Development Office and the wider university.

“At the start, I spent a lot of time in Oxford as well as one-on-one time virtually with the team in the New York Office,” explains Adrian. “Any kind of transition after a long period of operating under a particular model can be disconcerting, but we worked collaboratively to bring everyone on that journey.”

“The move meant that the Office in New York could lean into the world-class centralised fundraising operation in Oxford, but to do so effectively meant we had to join a few dots. There was a lot of pragmatic and operational work to be done with Liesl and her brilliant team – helping the New York team to establish its priorities within a new operating model; establishing KPIs that mirrored the central team to provide a clearer picture of their activities; and mapping out prospect pools to prioritise relationships and reassign where necessary.”

“A great moment was to be able to bring the New York team over to Oxford in June 2023 – some of whom were visiting for the first time – to meet their colleagues and connect more deeply with the university. Nothing beats face to face opportunities to meet colleagues and build stronger relationships.”

Foundations for future success
For Liesl, the biggest impact was stability and clarity of direction for the team. She said: “While the transition of the North American Office continues with the appointment of Dr Liz Miller, More Partnership provided essential continuity during this transition period. Adrian’s work built stronger foundations for the growth of our international fundraising efforts, and kept up momentum as we move towards another period of campaign. There was never any doubt the team was in safe hands.”

To find out more about the bespoke support we could provide your organisation, contact us on info@morepartnership.com or 01382 224730.