University Advancement (or the Chancellor) may approach you about a potential donor. They might ask you to work with the department to write up a proposal for a donor. They might ask you to meet with the donor.
If, instead, a potential donor has approached you, let the Advancement Office know, and they'll give you advice about what to do next. You can contact the Director of Stewardship or the Director of Development for your college. Keep up your end of communication with alumni/ae who might be potential donors. Cultivation can be a very long process, over many years. It can also happen that even a long series of pleasant contacts will come to naught-this is a normal part of the process and should not discourage you from trying with another person.
The process doesn't end with the giving of the gift. It is an important matter of courtesy to keep in touch with the donor. At a minimum, you should work with Advancement to craft a letter telling the donor how the income from the fund has been used in the last year. Sometimes this letter comes from the chair, sometimes from Advancement; check with the Director of Stewardship in Advancement to see what the practice is for a particular fund. Even if Advancement sends out a report, the donor would very much enjoy hearing directly from the department. Copy the Advancement office on any correspondence with donors. See a sample end-of-year letter. As department chair, you may be the principal investigator for one or more endowed fund. An important aspect of stewarding endowment donors is spending the annual interest allocation in the manner outlined by the donor in the endowment agreement. Each August, University Advancement will send you a comprehensive overview of the endowed funds for which you are PI. Should you have questions about how to spend the funds, please contact the Director of Stewardship.
Have an idea about fundraising for the department--for example, an appeal to alumni/ae for support of a particular project? Any solicitation of funds must be done in close consultation and cooperation with Advancement, as it is important to ensure that faculty and Advancement are not working at cross-purposes. You'll want to talk with Advancement about issues of timing, audience, and purpose; they can also provide a list of departmental alumni/ae with current contact information. If you've got a good idea, they will help you realize it and ensure that you are recognized for the effort
All checks or gifts from donors must be processed through Advancement to insure proper receipting and credit to the donor. Please send any cash, check or credit card gifts that you receive to University Advancement as soon as you can so that the gift can be receipted, acknowledged, and added to your budget in a timely manner.