About CASE

Chua Beng Hwee
Executive Director
CASE Asia-Pacific
+65- 6592 5030

Timothy Dolan
Vice-Principal (Advancement),
University of Sydney



For Immediate Release
October 28, 2016

Philanthropy on the rise in Australia and New Zealand universities

SINGAPORE—Philanthropic giving to universities in Australia and New Zealand is gathering significant momentum, according to a new report on higher education philanthropic giving in the two countries. 

Charitable Giving to Universities in Australia and New Zealand reports that institutions in these countries saw strong growth in giving in 2015 with surveyed institutions recording an exponential increase of 26 percent in new funds secured (AUD538.19 million) as well as an increase of 24 percent in cash income received (AUD392.83 million) compared to 2014. Institutions also recorded significant increases in the total number of donors (23 percent) and alumni donors (16 percent) in 2015. In addition, 2015 was an outstanding year for income from bequests. Institutions reported a 156 percent increase in new funds secured from bequests from 2014 to 2015 and a 162 percent increase in cash income received from bequests during the same time period.

Building on these results, university leaders will be gathered in December by CASE and Universities Australia in Melbourne to discuss developing the future of philanthropy in higher education. Vice-Chancellors, experienced advancement practitioners and donors will come together to share and learn more about the importance of leadership in philanthropic support for education. The event will include an opening presentation by Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training.

The report also highlights trends in philanthropic giving within the sector, based on analysis done on data collected from 23 institutions in Australia and one institution in New Zealand, provided for 2013, 2014 and 2015. This includes:

  • The total 2new funds secured in 2015 amounted to AUD538.19 million, a 26 percent increase over the 2014 total of AUD426.65 million.
  • The institutions collectively received 70 confirmed pledges over AUD1 million, the highest in the three-year period from 2013 to 2015.
  • The number of cash gifts over AUD1 million increased by 72 percent from 2014 to 2015.
  • The total number of donors and total number of alumni donors grew by 23 percent and 16 percent from 2014 to 2015 respectively.
  • Total annual fund and total 3cash income received by the annual fund both reached their highest points in 2015 at AUD13.14 million and AUD10.92 million, respectively.
  • The total investment in fundraising was AUD65.51 million in 2015, fundraising staff costs and non-staff costs were AUD45.75 million and AUD19.76 million, respectively.

Sue Cunningham, president and CEO of CASE, says the report shows real evidence that more individuals are increasingly realizing the powerful impact that higher education institutions have in their communities and around the world. 

"It is encouraging to see such a positive increase in philanthropic investment and donor confidence in higher education in Australia and New Zealand. This is combined with the growth in the total number of donors and particularly in alumni donors," says Ms. Cunningham. "The survey's findings indicate that universities are bringing increased focus upon strengthening engagement with their alumni and other supporters and thereby developing strong and sustainable relationships." 

Mr. Timothy Dolan, vice principal (Advancement) of the University of Sydney, and chair of the Committee of Chief Advancement Officers of the Group of Eight and friends, agrees that the results are encouraging and says there could be room for even greater impact. 

"Universities concerned are doing a fine job in telling the story: presenting their philanthropic projects not as a matter of obligation, or "giving back", but more as a good cause, a project worthy of investment," says Mr. Dolan. "If we could double our fundraising teams, the resulting impact would be phenomenal. Encouragingly, several initiatives are taking shape to help 'grow our own' in the longer term, including the welcome introduction in Australia of CASE Asia-Pacific's Educational Fundraising Graduate Trainee program."

This inaugural program will launch in April 2017 with the purpose to build  a talent pool of trained development professionals for the sector.

Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson says this growth in philanthropy income had enabled Australia's universities to "pursue even more of the world-class research breakthroughs and outstanding education opportunities for which we are renowned." 

"When the vision of our universities and the generosity of our donors come together, we've seen time and again that truly extraordinary things become possible," she says.

Ms. Chua Beng Hwee, executive director of CASE Asia-Pacific, says the Charitable Giving to Universities in Australia and New Zealand Survey is a valuable resource for universities that want to build their advancement operations.

"This is a heartening sign that attention is increasingly being given to this particular sector of the advancement profession and that it is something worth being concerned about," said Ms. Chua. "We believe that the survey can be developed to make it even more significant and eventually garner more support from Australia and New Zealand." 

The next year's Charitable Giving to Universities in Australia and New Zealand survey is scheduled to be administered in the first half of 2017. 

Notes to editors


1Annual fund is defined as gifts obtained through mass participation often directed to general operations and/or designated university priorities.  

2New funds secured in a year comprises both new single cash gifts and the full value of confirmed new pledges (but excludes any cash payments against pledges secured in previous years). It is often regarded as the best measure of the success of a fundraising programme in any particular year since it captures pledges that will typically be paid up over an agreed period of time (this is very characteristic of larger gifts, in particular).

3Cash income received in a year includes new single cash gifts and cash payments received against pledges secured in previous years.   

About the Charitable Giving to Universities in Australia and New Zealand Survey

The Charitable Giving to Universities in Australia and New Zealand Survey is annually commissioned by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in Europe.  

Presenting findings from the Charitable Giving to Universities in Australia and New Zealand Survey 2015, the aim of the research is to provide a picture of charitable giving to a group of 24 universities in Australia and New Zealand between 2013 and 2015.  

This is the fourth survey of this kind and participation has increased from 8 to 24 universities from 2012 to 2015.   

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.