Fundraisers at educational institutions estimate that donations during the academic year that ended June 30, 2011, increased by 4.7 percent compared to the previous year, according to survey results released today by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in Washington, D.C. They also predicted further growth of 5.5 percent for the academic year that began July 1, 2011.
The CASE Fundraising Index (CFI) is conducted twice annually — once at the end of the academic year and once at the end of the calendar year. It asks fundraising professionals at U.S. schools, colleges and universities to estimate the level of charitable giving to their institutions for the 12-month period just ended and to predict the level for the 12-months ahead.
For academic year 2011, there was a significant difference between estimates offered by public and private institutions of higher education. Fundraisers at public colleges and universities estimated that giving to their institutions increased by 2.6 percent, while their private counterparts estimated that giving had increased 5.7 percent more than the previous year.
“The differences between estimated results for public and private institutions underscore an important point regarding the CFI,” said CASE President John Lippincott. “The figures we report are averages. Actual results will vary based on the particular circumstances of an institution, including governance structure, geography, maturity of the fundraising program, influence of a current fundraising campaign and the potential donor base.”
Said Lippincott: “That said, there is very good news in these figures.”
Donors are still deeply committed to the strong tradition of giving to education in this country even in the aftermath of the great recession, he said. “In fact, the predicted 5.5 percent increase for the coming academic year is remarkably close to the 20-year average annual increase of 5.6 percent. These promising figures also reinforce the value of staying the course when it comes to fundraising programs.”
Fundraisers at independent elementary and secondary schools in the survey were less optimistic than their higher education counterparts for academic year 2012, estimating 3.2 percent growth.
Lippincott said the CFI is intended to complement work being done by other organizations that provide detailed analyses of giving based on actual results reported several months after the close of the calendar or academic year.
“The CFI gives us a snapshot of the educational fundraising landscape,” Lippincott said. “It is intended to help fundraisers set preliminary benchmarks for their recent performance as well as expectations for their future performance.”
The CFI is based on an online survey of senior-level fundraising professionals at more than 2,100 member institutions in the United States conducted during the first two weeks of July. The July 2011 CFI survey had a response rate of 8.3 percent. The 20-year average growth rate for giving to education is based on the Council for Aid to Education’s annual Voluntary Support of Education survey.