About CASE

Pam Russell
Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
Oct. 14, 2008

Statement on the Economy and Educational Fundraising by CASE President John Lippincott

These difficult economic times present special challenges for educational fundraising. While there are many unknowns about the current circumstances and while the impacts will vary widely from institution to institution, CASE offers the following general guidance regarding fundraising efforts at schools, colleges and universities:

  • Redouble your efforts: This is not the time to retreat or retrench. On the contrary, fundraisers should be spending more time with donors, sustaining and building relationships that will endure when the economic situation has stabilized. And institutions should continue investing in their fundraising operations for both the short-term and the long-term. Now more than ever, a well-staffed and well-resourced fundraising program will provide one of the best returns of any investment an institution can make.
  • Reframe your conversations: In working with current and prospective donors, fundraisers should listen carefully to gain an understanding of the donor's own circumstances and concerns. Based on that understanding, fundraisers should explore appropriate options that enable donors to continue to express their commitment to the institution. This may be a good time, for example, to discuss a deferred gift rather than an outright gift or to extend the pledge period for a major contribution. During a period such as this, focusing on the needs of the donor will be of paramount importance.
  • Recalibrate your expectations: Historically, economic downturns have slowed the rate of growth in charitable giving to educational institutions and, on rare occasions, resulted in small reductions. Institutions should carefully review their current fundraising performance against prior years and begin to adjust their projections accordingly. U.S. institutions may also want to benchmark against the CASE Fundraising Index which predicts flat growth in giving for the 2008 calendar year and a slight decrease in 2009. A new CASE Fundraising Index will be issued in July for the 2009 and 2010 fiscal years.

CASE will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates in the form of a Q&A on our Web site; we will also offer other programs and resources that help institutions maximize the effectiveness of their fundraising efforts in these difficult times.

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.