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Helping universities up their game in fundraising

Posted on 03 June 2014 by Mari Toomse-Smith, Senior Research Director .
Tags: Ross-CASE, academia, alumni, cash giving to universities, degree, donations, education, further education, higher education, philanthropic giving, philanthropy, students, universities

Mari Toomse-SmithLast month the Ross-CASE Survey, showed that cash donation to UK universities hit an all time high of £670 million in 2012-13. And that’s not all – there are more donors and alumni giving than ever before. This is really encouraging as there have been some concerns that the donations may decrease after the Government’s scheme to match the charitable donations received by universities, which ended two years ago.

This year was remarkable for the Ross-CASE Survey itself in many ways. In preparation for the study we spoke to a number of universities to find out what would help them in their fundraising activities. The result was an all new website that gives institutions the opportunity to compare themselves against others and an online questionnaire that goes into much more detail than the previous waves of this survey.

While universities are of course interested in how the sector is doing overall, the greatest value of the study for them often lies in being able to benchmark themselves against their peers. This can help to plan a fundraising strategy or to make a case for more investment in fundraising internally and should ultimately lead to an even more efficient fundraising sector. It is a testament to the collaborative spirit of our universities that so many of them (over 80%) agreed to share their data with others this year.

The reporting tool was developed by our partners Matrix and allows universities to select other institutions they want to compare themselves against and display their results on a graph next to their own. They can also benchmark themselves against mission group averages and year of founding among other options. You can see below what it looks like (and don’t worry we have cleared this with Bristol and Glasgow!).

 Benchmarking Tool

 

Besides giving universities more back we also asked more from them. This is the first year when we included detailed questions on who the donations came from, how universities raise funds and what their campaign plans are. It has not always been easy for institutions to put this information together, but the enhanced understanding on what works is invaluable for both the sector as a whole and institutions themselves.

I would like to thank all of the institutions for responding to the survey this year and I hope they get much value out of the reporting tool!

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