RAISE pocast: Mike Bacon, Trinity University


On this episode of the RAISE podcast, Brent chats with Mike Bacon, Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development at Trinity University. Mike and Brent cover topics like best practices for senior gift programs, swapping pledges for recurring gifts, tips for writing business school applications, the value of the not-so-quiet phase of the campaign, and how to slowly and steadily build an amazing professional network. 

Catch the whole episode here or read on for the highlights.



Highlights of this episode

Mike found his first job in advancement through the job posting pages of the (printed!) Chronicle

As the director of a small K-12 boys school in San Antonio, Mike was able to build relationships with the parents and families who were local philanthropists. In Mike’s words, this process “…wasn’t so much me trying to get the parents to like me. It was more getting them to understand how much I liked them.” Having those local parent and family connections in the San Antonio area helped him to later run his own (very successful) consulting business.

Mike got his MBA at UT Austin. At the time, UT’s McCombs School of Business didn’t have alumni chapters, and had taken a hit in the US News and World Report rankings. So, Mike walked the advancement walk and helped to launch the Graduate Business Network. Look at them now!

Mike discusses tips for writing business school applications, including: Make sure you tell the school why you’d be an amazing MBA student, but also highlight how you will be a valuable contributor to the school’s network and community for many years to come. 

Mike learned about EverTrue over 6 years ago through a personal connection during his consultant days. He did some research and then recommended the EverTrue platform to his alma mater. Now, Mike works at Trinity and uses ET daily. Full circle!

In-person relationship building will always be a component for for the top 2-3% of alumni that are in gift officer portfolios. But, what about the other 97% of alums? Mike and Brent discuss how the right people equipped with the right tech can provide tiered, personalized engagement experiences for so many more alums. 

In order to diversify our teams, we need to reconsider the work experience and backgrounds of “qualified” candidates. Folks with backgrounds in sales, finance, and team management have translatable skills and lots to offer advancement shops. 

It’s a big adjustment to go from “mile-wide and inch-deep approach” consulting work to the all-in, deep-dive of running an advancement organization. But, Mark is now bringing the fruits of his networks to bear at his alma mater of Trinity University, and he’s loving it. 

More about Mike

Michael Bacon returned to Trinity after 30 years of experience as a senior-level development and external relations executive, where he specialized in the creation and implementation of strategic fundraising programs that included capital campaigns, annual giving, and major gifts. At Trinity, Bacon provides leadership and strategic vision to the University’s fundraising and overall alumni engagement.

Bacon founded the firm Bacon Lee & Associates in 2000 with Marion Lee ’78. As fundraising consultants, the pair offered knowledge in board training, fund development, and long-term planning to nonprofit organizations in San Antonio and the Central Texas area. Bacon began his fund development career as the assistant director of the annual fund at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH, and returned to San Antonio to work for San Antonio Academy.  A certified fundraising executive, Bacon earned a Masters in Business Administration from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and served as the first grants manager for the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation.

Want to work with Mike? Trinity is hiring! Get in touch with Mike on LinkedIn.

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