Fundraising: after the alumni, l’X targets companies

For the first fundraising campaign, which was held from 2008 to 2013, only alumni were solicited. You now want to involve companies as well. For what reasons ?

In France, donations from natural persons – unlike donations from legal entities – are much less developed than in other countries, particularly Anglo-Saxon ones. In 2008, we wanted to “mark the occasion” and show that our alumni were capable of mobilizing for their establishment. We had set ourselves a target of 25 million euros. The old ones settled in France told us “you are crazy, it’s too much” and those established abroad, “why so little?”. Very quickly, we reached our goal and so we aimed for 35 million euros. And collected in the end 35.2 million euros. Of the 22,000 alumni of l’X, 12% of them have contributed to the campaign.
From now on, the solicitation of companies will allow us to increase our power. The amount targeted has yet to be defined, but it will obviously be higher than that of the previous campaign.

Is this increase in ambition necessary, in a tight budgetary context for higher education establishments?

Our goal is clearly to support the school’s new strategy, implemented in 2013. This strategy results in new financing needs in a context where state aid is not increasing. The school has several levers. I am thinking, for example, of the development of continuing education. Patronage is another.

The funds collected from 2008 to 2013 made it possible to finance, among other things, the school’s new laboratories, up to 9 million euros. What will be the next major projects supported by the collection of donations?

These are still only outlines, but already four points appear. First of all, a large section will once again be dedicated to scholarships. Whether it be the excellence scholarships or scholarships for foreign students. With an evolution concerning the latter: the students will receive a part in the form of a grant supplemented by a loan. This will align them with their French comrades, who will have to reimburse their studies in a more structured way than is currently the case. Then there will be a part targeted towards the equality of chancesanother towards teaching and research, in particular to help the establishment recruit teacher-researchers of international stature. Finally, it will be the novelty, part of the envelope will be devoted to entrepreneurship and innovationimportant areas in the school’s development strategy.

We must redevelop with the school a business plan of the actions to be financed as part of this new fundraiser.

The campaign, officially launched in the fourth quarter of 2015 for a period of five years, is in a silent phase. What are the lines of work today?

In addition to the results to be drawn from the previous campaign, it is necessary to redevelop with the school a business plan of the actions to be financed as part of this new fundraiser. Once the business plan has been established, we will have to prepare an argument. This is real marketing work, which we are carrying out with an outside firm. What will be the best-selling areas for our alumni and for companies? It is not a question of saying “we need money” but “here are the ambitious projects to which we propose you to contribute”. Knowing that major donors can direct their donation.

This campaign will be launched in a particular context for the École Polytechnique, which joins the University of Paris-Saclay. Does this new situation complicate your work?

It is true that alumni and donors have questions about the University of Paris-Saclay. It is up to us to explain to them how this is a strength. The university will be a teaching and research center of international stature, while allowing the Grandes Ecoles to keep their personality. There is already a state-of-the-art campus with the X at its heart. Paris-Saclay offers the opportunity to broaden the influencelike the situation at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the United States.

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