On this episode of the RAISE podcast, Brent chats with a good friend, innovative partner, and Evertrue 40u40 winner, Matthew Ewing. Matthew began his career at Indiana University, helped to build out the Boise State team, and then led the Cal Poly shop before returning to Boise State in January of 2020. He is one of advancement’s game-changers and is bringing pragmatic innovation to life through initiatives like partnering with EverTrue to build a team of Donor Experience Officers and launching Boise State’s first ShipIt Day.
Matthew and Brent cover topics like the cost-benefit analysis of expanding portfolio coverage beyond 2% of alumni; building an advancement coaching tree; and shifting from a scarcity mindset to an abundant one to make room for innovation in advancement. When Matthew was named to the EverTrue inaugural 40u40 list, one his direct reports weighed in on his leadership style, saying “At a young age, Matthew is leading the entire Cal Poly team and doing an outstanding job. His thoughtful approach to managing and his interest in modernizing the industry have made him a true leader.”
Catch the highlights or tune in below for the real deal.
Highlights from the episode
Matthew got his start in advancement by participating in Indiana Unviersity’s Little 500. The race was founded as a way to increase student awareness of the impact of philanthropy on a college campus, and it has grown into what is known internationally as as the “World’s Greatest College Weekend.”
Matthew and Brent discuss the cost-benefit analysis of expanding portfolio coverage beyond the top 2% of the donor pyramid. For an institution with 600K alumni, it would take approximately 100 fundraisers to manage 1-1 relationships with 2% of those alums. To double the number of traditionally managed prospects, that would mean hiring a team of 200 fundraisers. Alternatively, it would take hiring a handful of Donor Experience Officers to manage portfolios of 1,000 prospects each. (Matthew chose the latter option at Boise State.)
Matthew talks about how many Advancement leaders approach new ideas from a mindset of scarcity instead of abundance, and it has created a lack of innovation across Advancement. To show the Boise State team that innovation is possible (and even expected), Matthew launched the first ShipIt Day. All members of Boise State’s advancement team will have 24 hours to come up with a solution to a problem (ranging from a proposal for better coffee for the break room or a new tech tool). They’ll pitch the idea shark-tank-style to Matthew and a few members of Boise State’s board, and the best idea will get seed funding.
Matthew is as committed to talent development as he is to pipeline development. Advancement has a talent pipeline problem, despite the fact that advancement teams live on the campuses that provide top talent (students and grads) for the top companies in the world. Matthew has made admirable headway in building onramps into advancement for talented students through the Boise State DXO program. He’s finding ways to corner the market – on purpose.
On the RAISE podcast, we hear from so many guests about the mentors that have guided them along the way. We also get tons of shoutouts to their former and current teammates and employees who do the great work that allows them shine in their leadership roles. Matthew had the idea to create an advancement coaching tree, a-la Nick Saban’s. We think he’s on to something…
Matthew Ewing was recently named Boise State University’s Vice President for Advancement.
Ewing was previously the vice president for development and CEO of the Foundation at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where his responsibilities included spearheading the launch of the university’s second comprehensive fundraising campaign, and laying the groundwork for a strengthened culture of accountability, transparency and teamwork in the university’s fundraising and alumni engagement efforts.
But he is familiar to the Boise State campus and community. As the former associate vice president for development here, Ewing led fundraising for the university’s top philanthropic priorities, including a three-year scholarship campaign that raised more than $52.2 million – more than twice the campaign’s goal. Before joining Boise State, Ewing spent eight years in a variety of leadership and fundraising roles for the Indiana University Foundation.
He will lead Boise State’s Division of Advancement and serve on Dr. Tromp’s executive leadership team.
Ewing has a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science and a Master of Science in kinesiology, both from Indiana University. He also graduated from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business executive management program.
In 2019, he was recognized in EverTrue’s inaugural class of 40 fundraisers under 40. He and his wife, Vanessa, serve on several nonprofit boards and enjoy traveling, skiing, cooking and exploring the outdoors.