About CASE

Pam Russell
Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
Jan. 16, 2009

Fundraisers Forecast Slight Decline in Giving to Education in 2009

Giving was relatively flat in 2008, according to CASE Fundraising Index

WASHINGTON, D.C. -Giving to education in the United States is likely to decline slightly in the coming year, according to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education's biannual fundraising index.

The CASE Fundraising Index also predicts that philanthropic support for schools, colleges and universities will be relatively flat, growing 0.3 percent, for the 2008 calendar year just ended. Over the last 20 years, the average annual rate of growth for giving to education has been 7 percent.

CASE Fundraising Index 2008 chart

"The CFI results offer good news and bad news," said John Lippincott, president of CASE. "The good news is that amid much more significant declines in other parts of the economy, educational fundraising could stay comparatively constant. And that means philanthropy would be one of the more stable and one of the more important factors in providing educational quality and access at our nation's schools, colleges, and universities.

"The bad news is that 2009 could be one of only three years in the last two decades that show an actual decline in giving, however modest," he added, noting that giving declined 3.5 percent in 1987-88 and 1.2 percent in 2001-02, according to the annual Voluntary Support of Education Survey conducted by the Council for Aid to Education. "After years of healthy annual increases in philanthropic support, institutions may now have to adjust to flat or declining donations."

The CFI is conducted twice annually-once at the end of the fiscal year (July 1-June 30) and once at the end of the calendar year (Jan. 1-Dec. 30). The first index, released in July 2008, estimated that giving to educational institutions would be up by 7.2 percent during the 2007-08 fiscal year and that it would be up by 5.3 percent in the 2008-09 fiscal year, an early signal that giving might start to decline against historic trends.

"The dramatic drop from the 5.3 percent projection in July, which was looking forward to the next fiscal year, and the 0.3 estimate in January, which is looking backward at the calendar year, reflects the impact of the significant economic downturn in the second half of last year, " Lippincott said.

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 year.

"The CFI numbers can provide educational institutions with a useful benchmark against which to calibrate their own performance for 2008 and their expectations for 2009," he said. "It should be noted, however, that the figures are based on early estimates and forecasts and that many institutions will experience results that vary from these averages given their specific circumstances."

The CFI is based on an electronic survey of senior fundraising professionals at 2,319 CASE-member institutions in the United States conducted Jan. 6-14, 2009. With 242 completed surveys, the January 2009 index had a response rate of 10.4 percent.

The survey instrument asks senior fundraisers to estimate their year-end results and predict their year-ahead performance using a scale made of three-point ranges. The average annual rate of growth used as the norm for the CFI is based on the 20-year mean for results reported in the Voluntary Support of Education survey issued by the Council for Aid to Education.

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.