Giving to Australian and New Zealand Universities Remains Strong Despite Challenges of Pandemic
An annual survey report on philanthropic support of the higher education sector in Australia and New Zealand in 2020 was released today by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), showing a total of AUD771 million in new funds secured, an increase of 1% over the previous year and a gain of 16% above 2018 . Philanthropic income also grew by 31% from 2019 to a combined total of AUD759 million.
The CASE Support of Education Survey, Australia and New Zealand, 2021 has been collecting data on charitable giving, donors, and investments in fundraising and alumni relations for universities in Australia and New Zealand since 2012. This year’s survey includes responses from 34 universities in Australia and New Zealand.
Research programmes and partnerships were the most popular purpose to which gifts were made, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the value (62%) of new funds secured, and more than half the value (54%) of philanthropic income received. A total of 123 confirmed pledges of AUD1 million and above were made to participating institutions, and a total of 117 cash gifts of AUD1 million and above were received by participating institutions, an increase of 21% from 2019.
Giving via annual fund income increased significantly as well. Institutions secured a total of AUD31 million in new funds via annual fund appeals and AUD27 million as annual fund income received in cash, a growth of 84% and 64% from 2019 respectively. Survey research indicates that many participating institutions pivoted to support COVID-19 research and students in need through their annual appeal programmes.
Professor Margaret Gardner AC, president and vice-chancellor of Monash University, chair of the Group of Eight and chair of the CASE Council for Asia-Pacific comments, “Universities are institutions that have lived through many crises. The challenges posed by the pandemic have allowed us insights into how quickly we can do things and engage with the world in new ways, especially in the innovation and resilience shown in responding to this crisis. The very purpose of universities – the pursuit of education and generating new ideas and knowledge – is a long-term endeavour. We’re going to see many changes in universities in coming years as they recover from the upheaval caused by the coronavirus crisis. We can be sure this will be with a renewed sense of purpose.”
“The CASE Support of Education Survey documents the extraordinary resilience of advancement professionals and institutional leaders and the commitment of alumni and other donors,” says CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham. “In the year ahead, sustained institutional commitment to advancement and stewardship of donors will be critical to maintaining philanthropic support for universities and the students and communities they serve.”
Other key findings from the 2020 survey data include:
- Following a 34% increase from 2018 to 2019, new bequest intentions confirmed decreased by 4% over the last year. Total cash income from bequests was AUD90 million, up 40% from 2019.
- The largest non-bequest pledge secured by an institution in 2020 was AUD31.7 million. The total value of largest non-bequest pledges decreased by 23% over the last year.
- Institutions reported a total of 54,935 donors in 2020, 3% lower than in 2019. The total number of alumni donors decreased by 2% from 2019 to 2020 after a decrease of 11% from 2018 to 2019.
- The median new funds secured per donor was higher in 2019 at AUD11,300 as compared to 2020 at AUD7,400.
- Institutions spent a median of just 22 cents on fundraising for each dollar of new funds secured and 24 cents for each dollar of cash income.
- Despite the high return on investment in fundraising, majority of institutions reported drops in non-salary investment for fundraising and alumni engagement activities. In total, fundraising investment decreased by 3% and alumni relations investment decreased by 14%.
Next year’s CASE Support of Education Survey, Australia and New Zealand will be administered in the first half of 2022. It will be critical in determining whether changes from 2019 to 2020 represent genuine trends or anomalies stemming from the pandemic, and any downstream effect of the pandemic on institutions’ fundraising.
 All the year-on-year trends were calculated for a consistent cohort of 29 institutions that provided information for a key set of variables for all three years.
About the CASE Support of Education Survey, Australia and New Zealand
The CASE Support of Education Survey, Australia and New Zealand, previously the Charitable Giving to Universities in Australia and New Zealand Survey, has been conducted annually since 2012. The research provides data on charitable giving, donors, and investments in fundraising and alumni relations for universities in Australia and New Zealand and complements similar surveys conducted in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The survey is part of AMAtlas, CASE’s global resource for educational advancement-related metrics, benchmarks, and analytics that provides a range of other data and resources for schools, universities, and colleges.
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, advancement services, communications, fundraising, government relations, marketing, and student recruitment. 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 3,600 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 82 countries. CASE serves more than 90,000 practitioners. For more information about CASE, please visit www.case.org.
Executive Director, CASE Asia-Pacific