About CASE

Pam Russell
Senior Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
Aug. 19, 2016

CASE Fundraising Index Survey: U.S. Educational Fundraisers See Lower Growth in FY16 but Predict Stronger Gains in FY17

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Fundraisers at schools, colleges and universities in the United States estimate that donations to their institutions grew 4.5 percent during the academic year that ended June 30, 2016, according to survey results released by CASE.

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 4.5 percent growth is lower than the 6.2 percent growth predicted by fundraisers at the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year. The 20-year average for year-to-year growth in actual giving is 6.1 percent.

Among those surveyed, fundraisers at community colleges estimated the greatest growth in giving for the 2016 academic year at 7.2 percent. All of public higher education reported estimated growth at 7.1 percent. Fundraisers at private higher education institutions and independent schools estimated more modest gains of 3.2 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

Looking ahead, fundraisers at schools, colleges and universities predicted an increase of 5.2 percent in giving in the 2017 academic year. Community colleges predicted the greatest growth at 7.3 percent while independent schools predicted growth of 4.6 percent.

CFI 2017 Rate of Change in Giving to Education

Sue Cunningham, president of CASE, says that while private higher education and independent schools saw some moderation in charitable giving during the 2016 academic year, the survey results reflect evidence of solid growth for all sectors during this time period.

"This survey further evidences the remarkable commitment of philanthropists to investing in education," Cunningham says. "It is encouraging to see increased support for education, which plays a critical role in transforming lives and society. The outcomes detailed in the CFI Survey are, as ever, the result of the engagement of many working within educational organizations together with their broader communities. Relationship building with integrity and respect is critical to this success."

Cunningham noted 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 the institution is in a campaign.

She added that 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. The study 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 2,100 CASE-member institutions in the United States conducted between July 20 and Aug. 4, 2016. The CFI survey had a response rate of 6.0 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 (6.1 percent) 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.