Universities see increase in donations

A combined total of £807m was raised by universities during 2013/2014

An annual review of British university fundraising has revealed that universities have received more money than ever from alumni, charities and other supporters.

Image: @Doug88888

Image: @Doug88888

The Ross-CASE Survey of Charitable Giving to Universities is described on their website as a survey which is annually commissioned by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in Europe and is carried out by NatCen Social Research on behalf of CASE.

Over 120 universities from England, Scotland and Wales raised a combined total of £807m in 2013-14. This figure was £50m higher than the 2011-12 record of £753m.

Oxbridge universities contributed to £323m worth of funds, which made up 41 per cent of the total. The Russell Group of 21 universities excluding Oxbridge raised over £300m.

The report also showed that while the number of contactable alumni rose from 7.5m to 8.6m, only 183,000 alumni donated to universities, meaning that the mean percentage of alumni making a donation was 2 per cent.

In addition, more effort was given to hiring staff to work purely on resources and fundraising activities.

The total fundraising costs increased 12 per cent in comparison to previous years, £59m of which went on staff costs.

The money came from a range of sources including trusts, other charities, alumni and foundations, while donations from organisations accounted for 56 per cent of the total. Companies and businesses only made up 20 per cent of income received from organisations.

Six universities were categorised as having fragile funding programmes, whereas sixty-nine were considered to have emerging fundraising programmes.

Both Oxford and Cambridge were considered to have elite fundraising programmes with an average of 52,000 donors each.

Approximately 8.6 million alumni were contacted in total, with just over 247,000 donating.

A University of York spokesperson said: “‘The Ross-CASE Survey is an important tool benchmarking the University of York’s fundraising and alumni engagement performance and investment against other UK higher education institutions. The headlines for York were that the new funds secured, cash received and number of donors giving were all up.

They added: “As the number of addressable/contactable alumni grows, we have to run even harder to stay on the spot in terms of maintaining the percentage of our alumni who give back. In 2012-13 this was 1.97 per cent at York, the Russell Group average (excluding Oxbridge) was 1.67 per cent and UK average was 0.77 per cent – York alumni are incredibly generous and supportive of our students and priority projects.

“The report points to a correlation between number of fundraising staff and return on investment – the more you spend the more you get out. We shall continue to make a case for investment into our fundraising team … We increasingly recognise the value of engaging with alumni in order to support international relations, student recruitment and perhaps most importantly, employability. At York we have set ourselves a target to secure 6,000 volunteer hours in 2015/16 from our alumni across a range of roles from mentoring to taking part in events organised by Careers and our academic departments.

“We’re well on track to achieve this. We also recognise the need to support our recent graduates in their professional development and will be launching a fourth professional network later this year for those working in science and technology.”

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