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Financial Management

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Into the Storm
CURRENTS Article Within hours of the June 2016 Brexit referendum in which 51.9 percent of voters in the United Kingdom opted to leave the European Union, many U.K. universities created special teams to address their most immediate concerns: student and staff recruitment and retention. University College London convened a Brexit planning group, chaired by its president and provost, with top representatives participating from offices such as communications, development, international, education and student affairs, the registrar, and human resources, as well as the college's unions.

Endowments Are Forever
CURRENTS Article In a combustible election year full of populist rhetoric, candidates for both federal and state offices are decrying higher education's price tag and mounting student loan debt. Headlines about college and university endowments earning double-digit returns in 2013 and 2014 helped bring the funds under lawmakers' scrutiny, leading some to view them as a way to keep tuition prices in check and increase student financial support. But endowments are intended to provide stable, long-term funding to an institution while balancing the present and future needs of the university and its students, a concept known as intergenerational equity. And it's essential that communications and development professionals understand how their institution's endowment works—including how these funds help keep tuition prices down. Communicators and fundraisers should also know the endowment's total value, spending rate, return on investment year to year, and average 10-year return.

CURRENTS Article Advice on endowment terms and a collection of tweets, quotations, advice, and more from the CASE Summit.

Saving Sweet Briar
CURRENTS Article The inside story of how a scrappy group of passionate alumnae raised money, fought in the courts, and gathered support from community leaders to keep Sweet Briar College's doors open—and what advancement can learn from it

Outlook: Do Your Funds Need a Checkup?
CURRENTS Article Compliance checkups expose problematic spending restrictions, educate new employees on fund limitations, and ensure that fund usage reflects donor intent. They're a way to assess the fitness of funds—particularly your oldest restricted income accounts, endowed funds, and pending planned gift assets—that are key to the institution's long-term financial health.

A Changing Climate
CURRENTS Article Two dozen institutions in the U.S. and abroad have committed to divest from fossil fuels, and the numbers are likely to grow as the activism spreads. Still, many advancement offices are concerned that what is good for the planet may not be so great for their institution's endowment.

What’s the Deal with Donor-Advised Funds?
CURRENTS Article Offering donor-advised funds can strengthen bonds with longtime donors interested in alternative giving vehicles, but they can put institutions in a tricky place in terms of how they relate to their supporters.

Talking Points: The Hybrid University
CURRENTS Article How can colleges and universities continue to serve a key role in advancing society despite diminishing government appropriations? One answer is to provide public institutions more autonomy.

Giving Is Inn
CURRENTS Article Rollins College's new hotel will provide shelter to visitors while generating revenue for scholarships.

Odds and Ends: Owning Overhead
CURRENTS Article In this Q-and-A interview with Dan Pallotta, the social entrepreneur and author discusses why overhead is the wrong metric by which to judge a charity; some changes that nonprofit boards need to make; and his advocacy for the nonprofit sector, including the Charity Defense Council organization he started.

Outlay of the Land
CURRENTS Article How has the recession affected public funding of higher education in Europe? Here, the results are mapped out.

Increasing the Harvest
CURRENTS Article In 2007 the University of Colorado Boulder Alumni Association eliminated dues and created "Forever Buffs," a new model of the alumni experience that welcomes all students and alumni into a 270,000-strong family with lifelong benefits. In place of dues is a one-time $70 fee all students pay upon matriculation that guarantees them a lifetime of alumni services and programming. The author describes how the funding switch was made and how "Forever Buffs" has changed the alumni association.

Course Correction
CURRENTS Article In the view of many college presidents, the economic crisis of 2008 was a tipping point. In its aftermath, a "new normal" is redefining higher education realities and reshaping the traditional role of college and university presidencies. Higher education leaders say they are less focused on empire-building and more attuned to financial management, institutional marketing, improving the customer experience, and finding ways of helping financially strapped families pay for college.

Senior Moment
CURRENTS Article This brief article looks at Rye Country Day School's yearly effort to solicit gifts from parents of graduating seniors, thereby expanding its endowment. Parents are encouraged to double their most recent gift to the annual fund. In recent years, parent participation has consistently exceeded 95 percent.

Crecimiento que da frutos
CURRENTS Article En el clima económico actual, las donaciones se hacen cada vez más comunes entre universidades públicas y privadas, aunque varía ampliamente cómo cada institución distribuye de forma diferente la donación. Este artículo examina las políticas de las donaciones en diferentes instituciones y demuestra que es importante tener una buena política de distribución y una comunicación siempre clara con el donante, estas son las claves para la aplicación de una política responsable.

Sunny Sums
CURRENTS Article Friends, parents, and alumni of Sidwell Friends School purchased "solar bonds" that financed the installation of solar panels on the roof of a gym. They receive a modest 3 percent return over 10 years, at which point they will donate the panels to the school.

Seeding Growth
CURRENTS Article In the current economic climate, gift fees are becoming more common among both private and public universities, although institutions vary widely in the way they assess and distribute such fees. This article examines the gift fee policies at various institutions and shows that having a strong case for a gift fee policy and clearly communicating it to donors are the keys to implementing a fiscally responsible policy that doesn't alienate constituents.

Changing the Way You Ink
CURRENTS Article The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay discovered that they could save ink (and hence money and the environment) by switching their default font to Century Gothic.

Rethinking Reform
CURRENTS Article James C. Garland, retired president of Miami University of Ohio, discusses the problems he perceives with the typical business plan of today's public higher education institutions. He proposes a student subsidy system that would give state funding directly to needy students and let them choose which public institution to attend. Public colleges and universities would have to compete for state dollars, which would mean they would either improve and offer more value to students or eventually shut their doors.

School of Rock
CURRENTS Article Folk-rock band Dry Island Buffalo Jump is made up of faculty members from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. The band is donating proceeds from one of their songs, "The Credit Crunch Song," to a hardship fund for students. Needy students can request a draw on the fund to pay for a textbook or other necessary item.

Office Space: Adversity and Opportunity
CURRENTS Article Budget cuts can be tough, but smart changes can improve your advancement operation

Talking Points: Underwater Funds
CURRENTS Article For U.S. institutions, understanding the regulations associated with spending from underwater endowments has never been more important. This Talking Points column discusses what actions are permissible under UMIFA and UPMIFA.

Closer Inspection
CURRENTS Article An interview with CASE Director of Government Relations Brian Flahaven provides insight about the federal scrutiny of educational endowments. This version of the interview contains additional information available online only.

President's Perspective: Endowed with Wisdom
CURRENTS Article CASE President John Lippincott describes why legislative attention to educational endowments is both welcome and worrisome.

Talking Points: Treasure Hunt
CURRENTS Article Independent schools are struggling to keep tuition affordable and expand financial aid. This column discusses some alternative revenue streams that schools could tap into.

Closing Remarks: Come Together Over Me
CURRENTS Article The author proposes that the 12 institutions affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church combine their fundraising efforts to create one endowment.

Advance Work: Here's to Your Health
CURRENTS Article The future of these independent schools is looking good.

Closing Remarks: Those Enormous Endowments
CURRENTS Article The endowments of the richest U.S. colleges and universities are big and becoming enormous. The author posits that U.S. higher education is losing its way and proposes a way to rectify the disparity between rich and and not-so-rich institutions.

Talking Points: Endowments 101
CURRENTS Article This Talking Points column discusses the purpose of an endowment, how its spending is determined, and how it works to support the organization's mission.

Timely Answers
CURRENTS Article This article looks at the latest of five surveys on benchmarks for advancing smaller colleges and universities.

Advance Work: Gifts that Grow
CURRENTS Article A recent study compares the top five endowments in the United Kingdom to those in the United States.

Talking Points: Opening Up
CURRENTS Article This article is a follow-up to a September 2003 CURRENTS article, "That Sinking Feeling," about the Uniform Management of Institutional Funds Act, a law that governs the expenditure of endowment funds by nonprofits, including institutions and their foundations. This article describes recent revisions to UMIFA and the details of the new law, which mean big changes in the way charitable institutions manage and spend their endowment funds. One major change is the name—the act is now called Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act—and perhaps the biggest change is the elimination of the concept of “historic dollar value.” Other changes that the article describes include how UPMIFA brings the law in line with modern investment practice and how the new act provides better spending guidelines and more flexibility to cope with fluctuations in the value of the endowment.

Closing Remarks: Stewarding Tuition
CURRENTS Article In this column, Steve Pawluk writes that advancement professionals must remember that they are stewards of sacrifices made by students, their parents, alumni and donors.

AdvanceWork: Commerce That Cares
CURRENTS Article Philanthropists always are looking for ways to make a difference. A handful of Web sites--including,,, and enable cause-conscious individuals to support their favorite nonprofits through shopping. Although campuses aren’t yet receiving significant gifts from such services, development officers should take the time to learn about these and other types of nontraditional giving vehicles.

The Long Arm of the Law
CURRENTS Article This article, a sidebar to “To Preserve and Protect,” discusses the three U.S. laws that experts say endowment managers must bear in mind: the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), the Uniform Management of Institutional Funds Act (UMIFA), and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

To Preserve and Protect
CURRENTS Article Endowment management and stewardship are complicated by a wide range of internal and external issues. Today's donors, in addition to wanting more information about how institution leaders are investing and spending their gifts, want to be reassured that the spirit of their gifts is being honored. This article describes the philanthropic climate in which endowment managers are operating and identifies specific strategies that development officers should incorporate into their endowment stewardship efforts.

Talking Points: After SOX
CURRENTS Article Recent corporate scandals in the United States led to accountability measures like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Although most of the legislation applies to public companies, institutions and foundations might want to adopt parts of it and should be aware of the one part with which they must comply.

Closing Remarks: Profit and Loss
CURRENTS Article Increasing demands from several sources allow universities to generate profit in more ways than ever. Ironically, the same opportunities can harm the academic enterprise and sully its contributions to the nation's welfare. Making money often comes with a Faustian bargain in which universities have to compromise basic values. Leaders should guard against such decay by setting and maintaining limits.

Keeping the Piece
CURRENTS Article GASB Statement No. 39 sets new requirements for public colleges and universities to include financial data of "component units"--including many institutionally related foundations--in annual reports. This article explains what the requirement means for institutions and their affiliated foundations and offers guidelines for reaching compliance by the June 2004 deadline.

Beyond Philanthropy
CURRENTS Article Increasingly, advancement offices participate in generating nonphilanthropic revenue for their institutions under the overall banner of "total resource development." TRD manifests itself in different activities at different campuses, but might include multifaceted corporate contracts, bond issues or government funding, and entrepreneurial activity.

Talking Points: That Sinking Feeling
CURRENTS Article Recent stock market declines have highlighted a provision of the Uniform Management of Institutional Funds Act (UMIFA) that's causing problems for institutions whose endowed funds have dropped below their historic values--otherwise known as underwater endowments.

Talking Points: The Fading Color of Money
CURRENTS Article During the economic slowdown of the early 21st century, American higher education endured a painful combination of spending cuts and tuition increases. This article reviews the varied ways in which states have handled tuition hikes for public campuses, how private institutions were affected, and the problems springing from the failure to think in the long term. This Talking Points column is of interest to all advancement managers, but especially chief advancement officers, government relations officers, and communications directors.

Managing Precious Resources
CURRENTS Article To cope with the double problems of growing graduating classes and dwindling funds, alumni directors are trying to generate more revenue, trim expenses, and reallocate limited resources. A short accompanying article lists cost-saving measures.

Clarifying Complexity
CURRENTS Article To communicate to varied audiences about the complex effects of tough economic times on college and universities, public relations officers need to do four things: explain the benefits from and the needs of higher education; anticipate and manage difficult issues; devise coordinated communications and lobbying efforts; and connect with institutional friends, alumni, and taxpayers. A short accompanying article lists cost-saving measures. This article is of interest to advancement managers and managers of media relations and public relations programs.

Bright Ideas for Dark Times
CURRENTS Article Ten creative ways to battle fund-raising budget cuts include starting to plan the next campaign, evaluating cost per dollar raised, concentrating on prospects with the greatest potential, segmenting appeals, and striving to keep morale up. This article is of interest to advancement managers and managers of campaigns and annual and major gift programs.

Talking Points: By the Numbers
CURRENTS Article Recent accounting scandals have made the very idea of an audit sound somewhat shady, but the annual auditing of an institution’s financial statements is an important practice. Audits help keep financial information reliable, paint a picture of the institution’s fiscal health, and help campus leaders identify and address any potential problems.

Manager's Portfolio: Five Budget-Busting Myths
CURRENTS Article Your job as a manager is to learn how to negotiate what you need so your programs and staff members can keep up the good work—even in tough times like these. There are five myths you need to overcome if you want to be one of the people who know where the money is.

Closing Remarks: A Bumpy Ride
CURRENTS Article Advancement and foundation officers’ priority is to protect endowment income for their campuses. As the market downturn has been accompanied by a recession, two of three college and university endowments declined in value in fiscal year 2001—the first such decline since 1984. Here are some tips on how to bear with the natural ups and downs of the market.

Talking Points: The Endowment Mystique
CURRENTS Article News stories in the 1990s called attention to both high endowment growth and rising tuition costs. To many, it appears that higher education institutions are profiting, and some journalists, alumni, lawmakers, and others are calling for institutions to use more of their endowment earnings for tuition relief. This article outlines and clarifies four myths about endowments.

Talking Points: The IPO: Myth vs. Reality
CURRENTS Article The author examines myths surrounding initial public offerings, which do not always equal instant stock market wealth available for philanthropic purposes. She discusses the best methods that development officers from a range of institutions have found for tracking and responding to prospective donors’ involvement in IPOs.

Did You Say A Billion?
CURRENTS Article Campus communicators must be able to explain, openly and realistically, the need for institutions to seek megagifts and amass multimillion-dollar endowments. The article describes how to address typical questions on these topics from such constituents as faculty, students, taxpayers, trustees, prospective donors, foundation officers, alumni, and reporters.

Bond Issues
CURRENTS Article Many institutions are turning to the bond market to finance capital projects while preserving endowment funds. Bonds enable campuses to start construction immediately, focus on raising money for other campus priorities, be more responsive to donors, and implement projects that are beyond their current capability. The relationship between bonds and fund raising poses certain legal restrictions, and development officers must take extra care with the language of gift agreements, restricted gifts, and naming opportunities. The article summarizes reactions from foundations and donors and lists criteria for effective use of bond financing.

AdvanceWork: Sharing the Wealth
CURRENTS Article Problem/Solution

Climate Control
CURRENTS Article Experts suggest that the American economic boom is over. Development professionals can prepare for a possible drop in giving by building up internal support for the development operation, increasing research and cultivation efforts, and seeking donors from a variety of economic sectors. Veteran fund-raisers offer advice on when and how to tell campus leaders about fund-raising shortfalls and how to handle budget cuts with minimal damage to the program.

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