The legions of fundraisers colleges hired during the boom years have a new mission for these tough economic times: Go easy on the hard sell. Talk about financial aid, not shiny new buildings. If prospects can't give now, lay the groundwork for when the economy recovers.

Victoria Gorrell, the head fundraiser at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, recently visited a Chicago attorney who'd been a generous supporter, hoping to persuade him to keep up his $5,000 annual gifts. He cut back to $1,000 instead.

"But I know he cares, and he'll continue to give as he's able, and someday when things improve...

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