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For Immediate Release
Feb. 2, 2011

Statement on the Results of the 2010 Voluntary Support of Education Survey

Statement by CASE President John Lippincott

While giving to colleges and universities during the 2009-10 fiscal year didn't increase as much as we had hoped or anticipated, we find it reassuring that donors continued to demonstrate their commitment to higher education with $28 billion in private support during the slow climb out of the recession.

The Council for Aid to Education's annual Voluntary Support of Education Survey indicates that private giving to higher education increased by 0.5 percent in 2009-10 following the record, dramatic decline of 11.9 percent the previous year. This suggests that it may take two or three years, or longer depending upon the pace of the economic recovery, to reach or exceed the high point of $31.6 billion in philanthropic support in 2007-08.

The VSE increase is lower than that estimated by fundraisers from colleges and universities who responded to the July 2010 CASE Fundraising Index (CFI) survey. Based on preliminary year-end results, those respondents estimated an increase of 2.6 percent for 2009-10. The difference between the VSE and CFI figures may be attributable to a variety of factors, such as the treatment of pledges and deferred gifts. The important point is that both indices showed modest growth.

An area of ongoing concern in the VSE results is a continued decline in the amount of alumni giving. Part of this decline may be attributable to alumni making their gifts through donor-advised funds and family foundations. Nonetheless, colleges and universities need to pay special attention to engaging their alumni and to helping them understand the importance of their gifts, no matter the size.

In these volatile and uncertain times, results for individual institutions are likely to vary widely from the averages based on the profile of their donor populations, the maturity of their fundraising programs, and their investment in those programs.

The need for private support for education is greater than ever given cuts in state funding and the need to minimize tuition increases. While on average private support accounts for less than 10 percent of a university's operating budget, and although it is not a substitute for government funds, philanthropy remains a critically important resource as institutions seek to increase educational quality and opportunity. In fact, even with last year's decline in giving, the fundraising program remains one of the best investments an institution can make.

The VSE survey is voluntary and requires participants to report their numbers following the CASE Reporting Standards & Management Guidelines for Educational Fundraising, 4th edition. The reporting standards are also the basis of the annual CASE survey on educational fundraising campaigns.

Looking forward, fundraisers responding to CASE's most recent CFI poll predicted that giving to higher education would increase 5.4 percent in the 2011 calendar year.

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 more than 3,600 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in nearly 77 countries around the globe. This makes CASE one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational associations in terms of institutional membership. CASE serves nearly 78,000 advancement professionals on the staffs of its member institutions and has more than 16,000 professional members on its roster.

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.

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