About CASE

Pam Russell
Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
April 21, 2008

CASE Updates Fundraising Campaign Guidelines

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The board of trustees of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education has approved revisions to the CASE campaign reporting standards following an 18-month review by a volunteer working group of educational fundraising professionals and broad input from the CASE membership.

Specifically, the revisions allow institutions to report figures for:

  • Revocable gifts under certain specified conditions
  • Conditional pledges under certain specified conditions
  • Irrevocable deferred gifts at face value

These figures are to be listed separately from those for outright gifts and the discounted present value of irrevocable deferred gifts, both of which will continue to be reported as in the past.

In addition, the CASE Board approved the working group's recommendations that the suggested guideline for the maximum duration of a campaign be changed from seven to eight years to reflect changes in practice and the growth in the size of campaigns.

The CASE campaign standards are one component of the CASE Management and Reporting Standards: Standards for Annual Giving and Campaigns in Education Fundraising, created to help educational institutions benchmark their annual and campaign fundraising totals. The management and reporting standards are used in two annual surveys: the Voluntary Support of Education Survey conducted by the Council for Aid to Education and the Survey of Educational Fundraising Campaigns conducted by CASE. Other uses of the standards by institutions for their own counting and reporting are voluntary.

Originating in 1979, the standards have been updated several times in response to advances in the fundraising profession, according to CASE President John Lippincott. The most recent revision was prompted by the growing complexity of campaigns, he said.

"The CASE Board of Trustees recognized that the landscape for fundraising campaigns has been changing rapidly, so it created a working group of fundraising professionals to determine whether the standards were keeping up with the times, especially regarding what institutions need to know to benchmark their campaigns against their peers," Lippincott said.

"The group, capably chaired by Paul Sheff of the College of the Holy Cross, agreed that revisions were warranted due to the rapid growth in the scale of campaigns, the need for greater transparency, the diversity of institutions embarking on campaigns, increased pressure for private support, and the growing variety and complexity of revenue sources."

In its initial report, the working group also noted that "all philanthropic gifts, regardless of how they are counted, made, and realized bring value to the institution, and information about them ... is vital for strategic planning."

"The revisions to the campaign standards reflect the complexity of today's educational fundraising campaigns and their strategic importance to educational institutions," Lippincott said. "The updated campaign standards will contribute to greater public transparency in campaign counting and reporting and will allow CASE to better track trends in fundraising campaigns. The working group and trustees are to be commended for their efforts to increase clarity about campaigns and fully recognize the many ways donors support our educational institutions through private philanthropy."

Lippincott noted that the revisions apply only to reporting on campaigns and not to reporting of annual fundraising results. The new standards will take effect with the issuance of CASE's survey of capital campaigns in the fall of 2008. CASE will also issue a new edition of the reporting standards and management guidelines in late 2008. [note: projected release date is now June 2009].

The working group's complete recommendations, key points, a Q&A about the changes, and additional background about its work can be found on the CASE Web site.