Publications & Products
Volume 1, Issue 11


Advancement Research Tools Available at Your Fingertips

Benchmarking data and research about community college advancement programs are plentiful—if you know where to look.

Judith Kroll, senior research director of CASE, says that a 2010 CASE white paper offers members the "richest data currently available" on the operations of community college foundations. The national survey—upon which the white paper is based—asked community college foundation leaders to answer questions about everything from budget and staffing to campaigns and donor outreach. Although CASE white papers are typically available only to members with premier benefits, the 2010 CASE white paper is available for a limited time by request.

The answers to many common questions asked by community college advancement professionals are found in the white paper, including: How do peer institutions define alumni? How many donor records do they have that are active? And how do they fund their foundation operations?

More recent benchmarking information on community college foundations can be found via the CASE IRF Data Book, a resource for institutionally related foundation professionals to compare data related to their foundation's structure, staffing and operation with their peers. Some of the valuable information available within the database includes the size of major gifts to community colleges, the responsibilities of foundation office staff and the number of foundation chief staff officers who also serve as a vice president at its constituent institution.

Only CASE member foundations that complete the survey gain access to this benchmarking data. The survey for fiscal year 2011 has been temporarily re-opened (from May 7 through June 1, 2012). Visit the IRF Data Book web page to see how your foundation can participate. (To date, 17 percent of participating institutions are community colleges.) CASE plans to conduct surveys to update this database at the end of each fiscal year. Kroll encourages more community college members to participate to improve the value of this benchmarking data.

Community college advancement professionals should also check out the CASE Compensation Survey—a tool to assist institutions, hiring managers and individuals as they benchmark salaries in the advancement disciplines. (About 3 percent of recent participants work for community colleges.) Individuals who contribute to the survey are offered one-day access to the database. Access can also be purchased.

Another valuable research tool is the Voluntary Support of Education survey, which is conducted by the Council for Aid to Education and sponsored by CASE. Community college participation in the survey—considered by many to be the authoritative national source of information on private giving to education—has grown in recent years. The 2011 survey gathered data from 164 community colleges, up from 155 the previous year.

Ann E. Kaplan, director of the survey for CAE, says community colleges that complete the survey for the first time receive free access to Data Miner—an online search engine of 300 data variables about private giving collected through the survey—for a limited time. Some of the data variables include total giving, alumni participation, detail on deferred and bequest giving, capital purposes and current operational gifts.

"You can look at other two-year colleges that you think are similar to your institution," says Kaplan, who recorded a CASE webinar on how to use the survey that is available on demand. "You're not forced to look at a national estimate of those institutions. You can pick other institutions to benchmark from by name or other criteria such as how many students they have, how much money they raise from companies, etc."

Kaplan encourages more community college advancement professionals to participate in the survey and see how its data can improve their operations, adding that she and her staff also offer personalized training on how institutions can use the database.

"I know it takes a while to fill out," Kaplan says of the survey. "But you've nothing to lose to try it once. You'll get a lot of support."

Write to vse@cae.org for more information.


This article is from the May 2012 issue of the Community College Advancement News.

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