About CASE

Pam Russell
Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
Oct. 14, 2008

Statement on the Economy and Educational Fundraising by CASE President John Lippincott

These difficult economic times present special challenges for educational fundraising. While there are many unknowns about the current circumstances and while the impacts will vary widely from institution to institution, CASE offers the following general guidance regarding fundraising efforts at schools, colleges and universities:

  • Redouble your efforts: This is not the time to retreat or retrench. On the contrary, fundraisers should be spending more time with donors, sustaining and building relationships that will endure when the economic situation has stabilized. And institutions should continue investing in their fundraising operations for both the short-term and the long-term. Now more than ever, a well-staffed and well-resourced fundraising program will provide one of the best returns of any investment an institution can make.
  • Reframe your conversations: In working with current and prospective donors, fundraisers should listen carefully to gain an understanding of the donor's own circumstances and concerns. Based on that understanding, fundraisers should explore appropriate options that enable donors to continue to express their commitment to the institution. This may be a good time, for example, to discuss a deferred gift rather than an outright gift or to extend the pledge period for a major contribution. During a period such as this, focusing on the needs of the donor will be of paramount importance.
  • Recalibrate your expectations: Historically, economic downturns have slowed the rate of growth in charitable giving to educational institutions and, on rare occasions, resulted in small reductions. Institutions should carefully review their current fundraising performance against prior years and begin to adjust their projections accordingly. U.S. institutions may also want to benchmark against the CASE Fundraising Index which predicts flat growth in giving for the 2008 calendar year and a slight decrease in 2009. A new CASE Fundraising Index will be issued in July for the 2009 and 2010 fiscal years.

CASE will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates in the form of a Q&A on our Web site; we will also offer other programs and resources that help institutions maximize the effectiveness of their fundraising efforts in these difficult times.

About CASE

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas.

CASE was founded in 1974 and maintains headquarters in Washington, D.C., with offices in London (CASE Europe, 1994), Singapore (CASE Asia-Pacific, 2007) and Mexico City (CASE América Latina, 2011).

Today, CASE's membership includes nearly 3,700 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and non-profit organizations in more than 80 countries around the globe. This makes CASE one of the world's largest non-profit educational associations in terms of institutional membership. CASE serves more than 85,000 practitioners.

To fulfill their missions and to meet both individual and societal needs, colleges, universities and independent schools rely on—and therefore must foster—the good will, active involvement, informed advocacy and enduring support of alumni, donors, prospective students, parents, government officials, community leaders, corporate executives, foundation officers and other external constituencies.

CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with all of these constituencies by providing relevant research, supporting growth in the profession and fostering support of education. CASE also offers a variety of advancement products and services, provides standards and an ethical framework for the profession and works with other organizations to respond to public issues of concern while promoting the importance of education worldwide.