Window on the World of Fundraising
For the first time, CASE has pooled its detailed survey information on philanthropic support for education from countries throughout the world.
The report, “Voluntary Support of Post-Secondary Education: A Global Snapshot,” examines data across surveys from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland.
While the survey methodology and sample sizes differed depending on location, one trend is clear from the data: Fundraising results may rise and fall each year, but the general trend is that philanthropic support to higher education institutions is on the rise. The upward trend over time indicates an institution’s efficacy in working with its constituencies, underscoring the role that relationships play between universities and their donors, according to the report.
Sources of contributions in the United States and the United Kingdom and Ireland are similar, with alumni and foundations making up the bulk of donations. In Australia and New Zealand, less support comes from alumni and more comes from foundations.
There are also differences in the purposes for which the contributions are earmarked. In Australia and New Zealand, most gifts are restricted to current use rather than infrastructure or capital projects. Research (56% of contributions) is the primary area receiving philanthropic funding, followed by financial aid (19%). In Canada, research and financial aid each receive about a quarter of all contributions.
A 2016 study of European nations, not including the United Kingdom, found that nearly half of donations are restricted to research, while 28% is for capital projects. Just over half of gifts in the United States are restricted to current operations, and 27% is restricted for endowments, which funds a donor’s selected purpose.
About the author(s)
Barbara Ruben is a senior content creator at CASE.