About CASE

Pam Russell
Senior Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
April 30, 2015

Ross-CASE Survey: UK Universities Report Record Giving, Increase in Donors

LONDON—UK universities raised a record level of funds through donations in the last academic year, according to a survey of 124 institutions presented in the latest Ross-CASE report on higher education philanthropic giving in the UK.

Total new funds secured by all participating universities stood at an all-time high of £807 million for the academic year 2013-14. There were 16 universities who reported securing £10 million or more in new funds.

Higher education institutions received £657 million in cash income and the donor population for 2013-14 was 251,256.

Carolee Summers-Sparks, interim director of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Europe, one of the partners in the report, said:

"The growth in secured new funds and cash income received demonstrates a robust, positive fundraising performance in the sector. Universities are exhibiting great confidence in the value of philanthropic income and a realistic view of the investment required to win it.

"The rise in alumni donors reflects the effort that higher education is putting into building life-time relationships with alumni and eliciting their support using a variety of methods, including a few using new channels such as crowd-funding.

"However, total alumni participation rates are static at 2 percent and there remains considerable variation in performance among the participating institutions—representing a great opportunity, for the sector and individual institutions, to improve on these results."

Lori Houlihan, executive director of development and alumni relations, University College London and deputy chair, CASE Europe Board of Trustees, said:

"This report tells a very positive story and is hugely encouraging for the sector. It is heartening to see an increase in new funds secured and cash received during the past year and a rise in the number of donors.

"The findings clearly demonstrate the commitment higher education institutions are placing on embedding a culture of philanthropy across our institutions, and we are confident that we will see continued growth in the future."


The report also highlights trends in philanthropic giving within the sector, based on analysis done on data provided by nearly 100 HEIs for each of the three years (i.e. 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2013-14):

  • Total new funds secured rose significantly by 21 percent since 2012-13 to £795.2 million (among these institutions).
  • Cash income received changed marginally by only 1 percent since 2012-13 which reflects that cash receipts tend to lag the pledges that are included in the study's definition of new funds secured (see Notes to Editors1).
  • There was also a sizeable increase in the number of donors - a 25 percent rise since 2011-12 - and in alumni donors, which rose by 14 percent since 2011-12.
  • The number of alumni in contact with their university continued to rise in 2013-14, increasing by 15 percent between 2011-12 and 2013-14.
  • Universities spent 12 percent more on fundraising in 2013-14 than they did in 2012-13.
  • Fundraising staff numbers in the development and advancement offices rose by 13 percent since 2011-2012.
  • Median fundraising costs per pound received saw a significant drop of 28 percent since 2011-12. In most institutions, these costs are met from university central funds so that 100 percent of donations flow to the particular activities in the university for which they were given.
  • Overall, the number of institutions that raised £1 million or less in new funds reduced from 2011-12 (58 institutions) to 2013-14 (55 institutions). On the other hand there was a substantial increase in the number of institutions raising £10 million or more in new funds from 2012-13 (9 institutions) to 2013-14 (16 institutions)

As in previous years, analysts were able to categorise institutions' fundraising programmes as belonging to a number of groups (see Notes to Editors2) using ‘latent class' modelling.

"Analysis once again confirms the benefits of achieving scale in fundraising, with the top two performing groups achieving much higher returns on fundraising costs than the others," said Summers-Sparks.

"We hope that this annual survey—with the wealth of benchmarking data that it now provides to participants—can help more institutions improve performance so that the important educational and research outcomes that philanthropy makes possible can continue to grow across every type of university in the future."


Contact: Ben Verinder, Chalkstream Communications, 07717 506378 / 01442 851385, benverinder@chalkstreamcomms.co.uk

Notes to editors


1Cash income received in a year includes new single cash gifts and cash payments received against pledges secured in previous years.

New funds secured in a year comprises both new single cash gifts and the full value (up to 5 years) 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).

2Latent class analysis is a statistical approach used to group individuals or, in this case, universities, into different clusters (or ‘communities') according to how they answer a series of questions in the survey. Each cluster brings together universities with the most similar answers to the selected questions. The 7 variables used to cluster universities were:
1. Average cash income received over last 3 years
2. Average new funds secured over last 3 years
3. Average largest cash gift received, as a percentage of total cash income received over last 3 years
4. Average number of donors over last 3 years
5. Average proportion of alumni making a gift over last 3 years
6. Average fundraising costs per pound received over last 3 years
7. Average number of fundraising staff over last 3 years (FT equivalent)

The figures in this release and attached infographic represent findings from both total survey participants, and where referenced as comparable or trend data, for those institutions that have taken part in the survey since 2011.

Giving to Excellence: Generating Philanthropic Support for UK Higher Education

The Ross-CASE report is annually commissioned by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in Europe.

124 higher education institutions in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland participated in the 2013-14 survey. Results for two of these institutions were removed from the reporting due to incomplete data.

The report provides an estimate of the overall impact of philanthropy on the higher education sector and is the only source of information on this subject in the UK. The 2013-14 survey was carried out by NatCen Social Research on behalf of CASE and allows participating institutions to benchmark their performance against their peers. The first survey was carried out in 2002 and has been repeated annually since then.

For further information, visit: www.rosscasesurvey.org.uk

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.