Innovators' Pledge graphic
by Megan Powell

By now you have been made aware of a new donor group called the Innovators’ Pledge, and you might be asking yourself, “What is the Innovators’ Pledge?” Well, the Innovators’ Pledge is not just a promise to make a gift, it is an exclusive group of alumni and friends who are innovators, creators, equity holders and entrepreneurs who have made a non-binding promise to share their future success with UGA.

Who is a Prospect?

Innovators are alumni and friends who have a business in place or being built that they expect to monetize in the coming years. We are specifically targeting an exclusive group of people who know how to turn big ideas into bigger results. These are constituents who are visionaries and risk takers.

Innovators may be regularly making cash gifts, but they might also be prospects with incredible potential who find themselves in a position where they cannot make a gift today. They might say, “Everything I have is tied up in my business.” This would be an excellent opportunity for the prospect to consider taking the Innovators’ Pledge, so that when they find themselves with available resources, they can fulfill their gift.

Potential conversation:

Are you interested in making a multi-year pledge?

            No, I want to wait until I sell my company.

Are you interested in making an annual gift in the meantime?

Sorry, I’m not liquid. Everything I have is in my business. I will do something for UGA at some point.

Would you consider pledging that you intend to do something at some point? Let me tell you about Innovators’ Pledge…

The Innovators’ Pledge is a way to confirm a donor’s support for UGA while still remaining completely focused on their business.

What’s in it for the Prospect?

Signees have the opportunity to direct their potentially transformative gifts however they choose. Once an Innovator signs the pledge, we will work closely with them to discover what inspires them and help shape the vision for their philanthropy.

Pledge signers will be included in Bulldog 100 programming events, offerings by the Innovation District, etc. Signees are listed on the Innovators’ Pledge website with a link to their donor profile page.

Eventually, the vision is for this group to become its own community, building on each other’s success and investing in the next generation.

  • Offerings may include:
    • Networking events
    • Opportunities for more seasoned entrepreneurs to mentor earlier stage ventures
    • Access to deal flow for venture capital folks
    • Education for entrepreneurs on creative philanthropic and tax opportunities to consider before a merger or acquisition

Something to remember is that we need “early adopters.” Early adopters will help us shape the program, becoming role models for future Innovators and perhaps even helping us recruit new signees.

How to sign up?

Donors taking the pledge do not fill out a typical UGA pledge form. If you have a Bulldog who is perfect for the Innovators’ Pledge and they are ready to sign up, please direct them to https://give.uga.edu/how/innovators/. This is the Innovators’ Pledge website where they can “Take the pledge.”

Information for fundraisers:

We recognize that these promises do not count toward your fundraising totals, but they will count when fulfilled in the future (and that could be significant—monumental even!). DARCOMM has created a one-pager you can use to walk potential Innovators through the idea of taking the pledge, then leave behind for them to review, should they need more time to think it over. Review the Innovators’ Pledge webpage to see some of our first members and look over FAQs for potential questions you might get from prospects.

The goal has been sent to recruit at least 20 pledge signees by the end of this calendar year (2021). We are off to a great start and anticipate blowing right past this goal, but we need your help! If you have questions, need assistance with a specific prospect or have ideas for the Innovators’ Pledge program, please email and we will find the proper person to respond to you.

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