About CASE

Pam Russell
Senior Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
Aug. 13, 2015

CFI Survey: Gifts to Education Still Strong for AY15 but Slightly Lower than Predicted

Educational Fundraisers Optimistic about 2015-2016 Academic Year

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Fundraisers at schools, colleges and universities in the United States estimate that donations to their institutions grew 5.1 percent during the academic year that ended June 30, 2015, according to survey results released by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Conducted twice a year, the CFI survey asks educational fundraising professionals to estimate the level of charitable giving to their institutions for the 12-month period just ended and to predict the level for the 12 months ahead. In addition to fundraising estimates for colleges and universities (public and private, two-year and four-year), the CFI includes estimates for pre-collegiate independent (private) schools.

The estimated 5.1 percent growth is somewhat lower than the 5.4 percent growth predicted by fundraisers at the beginning of the 2014-2015 academic year. The 20-year average for year-to-year growth in actual giving is 5.9 percent.

Among those surveyed, fundraisers at independent schools estimated the greatest growth in giving for the 2015 academic year at 5.9 percent. Fundraisers at public and private higher education institutions estimated 4.8 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively, while community colleges estimated giving at 1.5 percent.

Looking forward, fundraisers at schools, colleges and universities predicted an increase of 6.2 percent in giving in the 2016 academic year. Public higher education institutions and community colleges were the most optimistic, predicting 8.3 and 9.2 percent increases in giving.

CASE Fundraising Index 8/15 chart

Sue Cunningham, president of CASE, says the latest CFI results are another indication of an improving economy.

"Overall, giving to education remained steady during the 2015 academic year although independent schools saw better-than-predicted growth in the academic year," Cunningham says. "Going forward, it's encouraging to see educational fundraisers from all institutions optimistic about giving in the coming year."

Cunningham stressed that the CFI percentages are averages and that performance at individual institutions will vary based on a variety of factors, such as the maturity of the fundraising program and whether or not the institution is in a campaign.

Cunningham said the CFI is intended to complement work being done by other organizations that provide detailed analyses of giving based on actual results reported several months after the close of the calendar or academic year. It is also intended to help fundraisers set preliminary benchmarks for past and future performance.

The CFI is based on an online survey of senior-level fundraising professionals at more than 1,600 CASE-member institutions in the United States conducted between July 1 and July 29, 2015. The CFI survey had a response rate of 7.8 percent. Results of the CFI since its inception in July 2008 can be found on the CASE website.

The 20-year average growth rate for giving to education is based on the Council for Aid to Education's annual Voluntary Support of Education survey.

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.