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The Development Office, based in Wellington Square, incorporates an experienced Prospect Research team, Database Support team, a Gift Registry, Campaign Relations and a Proposals Team, who all work together to offer a complete and efficient development process from a first connection with a potential donor to ‘making the ask’, and managing the ongoing stewardship.


The Prospect Research team in the University's Development Office provides us with up to date information to enable our fundraisers to make the connections between hopeful donors and your fundraising projects by:

  • Identifying new prospects
  • Providing profiles and meeting briefings 
  • Mini biography briefings for guests at big events


The University's Development Office now has a dedicated team of 5 Principal Gift Officers, who are allocated to specific areas of the globe where they develop relationships with potential and existing donors. Their regions are divided up into:

  • Central and South America
  • China and the Far East
  • Europe
  • the Middle East
  • Australia 
  • South East Asia


The CRD considers the approval of all potential philanthropic donations to the University, its divisions and departments, which exceed £100,000 either in a sole donation or cumulatively. It reports to the Council of the University and is governed by Council Regulations. It is chaired by a member of Council and is made up of at least one external member with senior business experience, a Head of House and three other senior academics who typically have expertise in the areas of law, ethics or public affairs. It meets about 6 or 7 times a year, generally within term time.


The Legal Services Office oversees the drafting of all gift agreements and trust and covenant documents.


DARS is a complex and indispensable database to coordinate development and alumni relations activity. Live since 2009, the system is now used by around 500 people across 53 colleges and departments. It offers the effective exchange of information which would otherwise be spread across 70-80 separate systems allowing us to share data and improve mutual understanding to offer the potential for a greater return on investment.


The Gift Registry processes philanthropic donations, gifts and associated income. All cash gifts and grants, and other undertakings to make future payment must be notified promptly to the Gift Registry. No gift greater than £10,000 should be accepted without prior reference to the Development Office.


The Campaign Relations team manages and coordinates the University’s contact with our donors at a number of events:

  • Encaenia - the ceremony at which the University of Oxford awards honorary degrees to distinguished men and women and commemorates its benefactors (9th week of Trinity).
  • Receptions at the varsity boat race and the rugby match 
  • Vice Chancellor’s Circle 
  • Chancellor’s Court of Benefactors
  • A member of the Chancellor’s Court of Benefactors may have their generosity to the University honoured by the engraving of their name in the Clarendon Archway, near the entrance of the Bodleian Library
  • Presentation of the Sheldon Medal

For further details, please see our Donor Charter.

See also:


We also offer support to a number of departmental development teams:

  • School of Geography and the Environment 
  • Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
  • Saïd Business School
  • Oxford Martin School
  • Faculty of Law

If your project falls within one of the above departments, please channel your fundraising requests through your own development team.

Oxford Thinking Campaign

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