About CASE

Pam Russell
Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
Jan. 20, 2011

Fundraisers Anticipate Rebound in Giving to Education in 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Fundraisers for schools, colleges and universities estimated that giving to their institutions increased an average of 3.7 percent in 2010 over the previous year, according to survey results released today by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. They also predicted further growth of 5.6 percent in 2011.

The CASE Fundraising Index, or CFI, is conducted twice a year and asks 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.

CFI Chart

The January CFI's predicted increase of 5.6 percent in 2011 is nearly identical to the 5.7 percent prediction made in July 2010 for the period covering July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011.

"The consistency of these forecasts made six months apart suggests that fundraisers are experiencing a less volatile and unpredictable fundraising environment today than during the depths of the recession," said CASE President John Lippincott. "Clearly, they are becoming more confident about the capacity and willingness of donors to support education. It is also very reassuring to see predicted growth rates that approach the average for the past 20 years."

Fundraisers at independent schools -- private, K-12 institutions -- were the most optimistic of the respondents, predicting an average 6.2 percent increase in donations to their institutions in 2011. Their counterparts at public colleges and universities were the least optimistic at 4.8 percent.

Variations were even greater when fundraisers were asked to estimate final totals for the 2010 calendar year, Lippincott said.

"Overall, the CFI suggests that 2010 results were up 3.7 percent over 2009 results," he said. "However, independent school respondents were significantly more optimistic, predicting an average increase of 5 percent, than their higher education colleagues, who anticipate an increase of 2.9 percent."

CFI Chart

Overall, the CFI results are a good sign for educational institutions, Lippincott said.

"The optimism reflected in the current CFI results is based on fundraisers' day-to-day experiences working directly with donors of all types," he said. "Donors react in part to economic conditions, but also to their commitment to the missions of the institutions they support. Their continued confidence in the work of schools, colleges and universities is notable."

Lippincott 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.

CASE conducts the CFI twice each year - once at the end of the academic year (July 1-June 30) and once at the end of the calendar year (Jan. 1-Dec. 31).

The first CFI, conducted July 2008, looked back at the 2007-08 academic year and ahead to 2008-09 and provided an early signal that growth in year-to-year giving was slowing down. The second CFI, conducted in January 2009, predicted relatively flat giving for the 2008 calendar year and a modest decrease for the 2009 calendar year.

The third CFI, conducted in July 2009, signaled the beginning of an upturn following the economic downturn while the fourth and fifth CFIs, conducted in January and July 2010, respectively, demonstrated even greater optimism.

Lippincott said the CFI is intended to complement the 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 CFI gives us a snapshot of the educational fundraising landscape," Lippincott said. "It is intended to help fundraisers set preliminary benchmarks for their recent performance as well as expectations for their future performance. In volatile economic times, it can be an especially useful tool as institutions recalibrate their fundraising goals."

The CFI is based on an online survey of senior-level fundraising professionals at more than 2,000 member institutions in the United States conducted during the first two weeks of January. The January 2011 CFI survey had a response rate of 6.1 percent.

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.