About CASE

Pam Russell
director of communications


For Immediate Release
July 19, 2010

Fundraisers Predict Rebound in Donations to Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Education fundraisers are optimistic that philanthropic giving to U.S. schools, colleges and universities will continue to rebound in the coming academic year, according to survey results released today by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

The CASE Fundraising Index, or CFI, is based on a semi-annual survey that asks fundraising professionals to look at estimated results for the year that just ended and the year immediately ahead.

The July CFI predicts an increase in donations of 5.7 percent in 2010-11 over the previous academic year. Fundraisers estimate an increase of 4.3 percent from 2008-09 to 2009-10 when they close the books on the year just ended.

CASE Fundraising Index for 2010-2011

The encouraging projections come after significant declines in giving to educational institutions during the 2008-09 academic year, said CASE President John Lippincott.

"Giving to education is recovering from the impact of the recession," Lippincott said. "A 5.7 percent increase, slightly below the 20-year-average of 6 percent, is an encouraging sign that we may return to pre-recession giving levels in roughly two years.

"The optimism among fundraisers is based on their interactions with donors," he added. "These predictions tell us that donors are feeling more confident about their own financial circumstances and are beginning to renew their remarkable tradition of giving to education."

Lippincott said that the July CFI results reinforce several trends identified in the January CFI, which predicted a decline of 0.8 percent for the 2009 calendar year, improving to an increase of 3.7 percent for 2010.

Projected institutional results continue to vary widely, with some reporting double-digit increases and others double-digit declines for the past year.

Fundraisers at community colleges and independent schools are generally more optimistic about past-year results than their counterparts at four-year colleges and universities. For the year ahead, fundraisers at community colleges and four-year public colleges and universities are the most optimistic.

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 CFI, conducted in January 2010, 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 quick 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 July. This latest CFI survey had a response rate of 7.5 percent.

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.

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