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Anna Wallace

CASE Europe
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Pam Russell
director of communications


For Immediate Release
27 March 2012

University Giving Trends Continue to Rise; Sector Raises More Than £560million

New report reveals £43million increase in giving as concerns grow about tax relief cap threat to university philanthropy.

LONDON-UK universities saw an increase in both the number of philanthropic donors and accompanying cash income in the academic year 2010-11, according to the annual Ross-CASE Survey, the only comprehensive source of information on higher education philanthropic income in the UK.

Cash income in 2010-11 increased by £43million to £560million, and the number of donors reached an all-time high of 204,250 a 10 percent improvement over 2009-10.

The number of alumni making donations also increased from 147,266 in 2009-10 to 162,913 in 2010-11. In addition, total new funds raised by universities, which includes pledges, continued to rise from £608 million in 2009-10 to  £693million in 2010-11, an increase of almost 14 percent.

At the same time, the report also shows how the trend toward a more professional and sustainable role for philanthropy in the sector is paying dividends with the amount spent on fundraising per pound received continuing to fall. It is now at its lowest ever level at 22 pence.

The report also looks at the impact of the government-backed matched funding scheme for voluntary giving to higher education, a £200million scheme launched in 2008 that matched donations to the sector. Initial findings have been very positive, particularly in terms of the rise in income and donors, but also in broadening the range of institutions investing in long-term fundraising activities. The median cash income raised from philanthropy, per university, was £223,000 in the three years before the scheme began in 2008. During the scheme, between 2008 and 2011, it had risen sharply to £608,000.

Institutions that took part in both the matched funding scheme and the Ross-CASE survey saw a rise of 40,000 donors—from 115,787 in 2007-08 to 157,788 in 2010-11—during the life cycle of the matched funding scheme.

3-yr snapshot of philanthropic donations to UK universities

However, some in the sector are concerned that the government's plans to introduce a new cap on income tax relief, announced in last week's budget, could deter major donors and threaten to reverse this trend, says Kate Hunter, executive director of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, which is one of the key partners in the report.

"This report tells a positive story about the culture shift toward philanthropy in our universities," Hunter says. "It's fantastic to see an increase in cash income over the past year and a growing number of alumni and other donors getting involved. We are, however, concerned that after years of hard work to grow a genuine culture of giving to higher education, the plans to introduce a new cap on income tax relief could be a disincentive to some donors. We feel this sends entirely the wrong message to donors about the need for and value of their gifts to the sector."

Chris Cox, director of development at the University of Manchester and chair of the Ross Group of Development Directors, adds: "The survey demonstrates that giving and philanthropy are now important and distinctive features of the UK higher education landscape, and that the government's matched funding programme had real impact. 

"Government now needs to move quickly to ensure that the budget proposals on tax relief don't stop progress dead in its tracks. Philanthropists choose to give serious money to make a difference to the lives of others. They choose that over conspicuous consumption or protecting their own wealth. Through its consultation, the government needs to decide which type of behaviour it wants to encourage among the wealthy. The only way of sending a clear message would be to exempt charitable contributions from the new cap."

For a full version of the report, visit http://www.rosscasesurvey.org.uk/.

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For further information, contact John Coventry or Andy Shaw at Kindred - 020 7010 0822/0806 or john.coventry@kindredagency.com/ andy.shaw@kindredagency.com.

About the Ross-CASE survey and NatCen:

The Ross-CASE survey is carried out annually by the National Centre for Social Research on behalf of the Ross Group and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in Europe.

The 2008-09 Ross-CASE survey received responses from 165 institutions. This breaks down as 149 universities and higher education institutions and 16 further education colleges.

The survey of gift revenue and fundraising costs has been carried out each year for the last eight years to measure the philanthropic performance of higher education and further education institutions. It is the only source of information on this subject in the UK, enabling institutions to compare themselves with their peers. It also provides an estimate of the overall impact of philanthropy on the higher education sector. For further information, visit www.rosscasesurvey.org.uk.

About the Matched Funding Scheme:

The matched funding scheme is a government-led program that aims to increase voluntary giving to higher education providers. All higher education institutions and directly funded further education colleges in England have been invited to participate in the scheme.

Eligible gifts to participating institutions will be matched through a fund of £200 million. Such institutions will receive matched funding according to their place in one of three tiers, each with a different funding ratio and cap suitable for institutions with differing degrees of fundraising experience.

The scheme, the first in the UK, started on 1 August 2008 and runs until July 2011. For further information, visit www.hefce.ac.uk/finance/fundinghe/vol/. A similar £10m scheme in Wales is administered by The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and runs until 2012.

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.

About The Ross Group
The Ross Group is a network of leading development directors working in higher education (HE). It works closely with CASE—the Council for Advancement and Support of Education—and is the developer of the
Ross-CASE Survey of Fundraising which is published annually and is the most comprehensive source of information about fundraising trends in UK higher education.