About CASE

Pam Russell
Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
Feb. 2, 2011

Statement on the Results of the 2010 Voluntary Support of Education Survey

Statement by CASE President John Lippincott

While giving to colleges and universities during the 2009-10 fiscal year didn't increase as much as we had hoped or anticipated, we find it reassuring that donors continued to demonstrate their commitment to higher education with $28 billion in private support during the slow climb out of the recession.

The Council for Aid to Education's annual Voluntary Support of Education Survey indicates that private giving to higher education increased by 0.5 percent in 2009-10 following the record, dramatic decline of 11.9 percent the previous year. This suggests that it may take two or three years, or longer depending upon the pace of the economic recovery, to reach or exceed the high point of $31.6 billion in philanthropic support in 2007-08.

The VSE increase is lower than that estimated by fundraisers from colleges and universities who responded to the July 2010 CASE Fundraising Index (CFI) survey. Based on preliminary year-end results, those respondents estimated an increase of 2.6 percent for 2009-10. The difference between the VSE and CFI figures may be attributable to a variety of factors, such as the treatment of pledges and deferred gifts. The important point is that both indices showed modest growth.

An area of ongoing concern in the VSE results is a continued decline in the amount of alumni giving. Part of this decline may be attributable to alumni making their gifts through donor-advised funds and family foundations. Nonetheless, colleges and universities need to pay special attention to engaging their alumni and to helping them understand the importance of their gifts, no matter the size.

In these volatile and uncertain times, results for individual institutions are likely to vary widely from the averages based on the profile of their donor populations, the maturity of their fundraising programs, and their investment in those programs.

The need for private support for education is greater than ever given cuts in state funding and the need to minimize tuition increases. While on average private support accounts for less than 10 percent of a university's operating budget, and although it is not a substitute for government funds, philanthropy remains a critically important resource as institutions seek to increase educational quality and opportunity. In fact, even with last year's decline in giving, the fundraising program remains one of the best investments an institution can make.

The VSE survey is voluntary and requires participants to report their numbers following the CASE Reporting Standards & Management Guidelines for Educational Fundraising, 4th edition. The reporting standards are also the basis of the annual CASE survey on educational fundraising campaigns.

Looking forward, fundraisers responding to CASE's most recent CFI poll predicted that giving to higher education would increase 5.4 percent in the 2011 calendar year.

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.