About CASE

Pam Russell
Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
Jan. 28, 2015

CASE Statement on 2014 Voluntary Support of Education Survey Results

President John Lippincott Says Support for Education “Exceptional”

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The historic $37.45 billion in contributions to U.S. colleges and universities in 2014, as highlighted in the just-released Voluntary Support of Education report, is exceptional news. It affirms that donors believe in the work of their educational institutions and that they are willing to show that support through increased giving as their personal finances improve in a stronger economy.

According to the VSE, the $37.45 billion is the highest total recorded since the inception of the survey in 1957. In addition, the 10.8 percent increase in charitable contributions is the strongest gain in voluntary support since 2000, when giving to colleges increased 13.7 percent. These statistics are encouraging, and though 2015 has just begun, they indicate a very promising year ahead for fundraisers at colleges and universities.

It is especially encouraging to see a strong increase in giving from all sources—including alumni, non-alumni individuals, foundations and corporations. The VSE reports that gifts from alumni increased 9.4 percent, while gifts from non-alumni individuals increased 4.8 percent and contributions from foundations, corporations and other organizations increased by double-digit percentages.

Another encouraging result from the VSE survey is that the average gift per alumnus increased 25.5 percent, reaching $1,535, which is likely the reflection of an improving economy. Still, this news is tempered by the fact that alumni participation continues its decline of many years. The VSE reports that alumni participation declined from 8.7 percent in 2013 to 8.3 percent in 2014. As CASE has indicated previously, we believe that this decline can be attributed in part to the use of family foundations as vehicles for alumni giving and the greater success colleges and universities are having in identifying and including lost and new alumni in their databases.

Another interesting statistic in the VSE report is the growth in gifts of art among the year's reported mega-gifts. According to the VSE, the data suggest that the number and value of gifts of art may be increasing, a fact that can have a significant impact on an institution. 

Looking forward, giving is likely to continue to show healthy growth in fiscal year 2015. In their preliminary responses to the semi-annual CASE Fundraising Index, educational fundraisers predicted solid increases in giving for both the current academic year and the current calendar year.

Sponsored in part by CASE, the VSE survey requires participants to report their numbers following the CASE Reporting Standards & Management Guidelines for Educational Fundraising, 4th edition.

About CASE

CASE believes in advancing education to transform lives and society. As a global nonprofit membership association of educational institutions, CASE helps develop the communities of professional practice that build institutional resilience and success in challenging times. The communities include staff engaged in alumni relations, fundraising, marketing, student recruitment, stakeholder engagement, crisis communications and government relations. CASE is volunteer-led and uses the intellectual capital of senior practitioners to build capacity and capability across the world.

CASE has offices in Washington, D.C., London, Singapore and Mexico City. Member institutions include more than 3,700 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 82 countries. CASE serves nearly 88,000 practitioners. For more information about CASE, please visit www.case.org.