University fundraising tops £1bn for the first time

The annual Ross-Case survey of 110 UK universities says £1.06bn of donations and pledges was secured in the 2015/16 academic year

Universities: fundraising up by 23 per cent
Universities: fundraising up by 23 per cent

- This story was corrected on 3 May 2017; please see final paragraph

Funds raised by UK universities totalled more than £1bn for the first time last year, according to new research.

The latest annual Ross-Case survey of 110 UK universities, published today, says that a total of £1.06bn in donations and pledges was secured by UK charities in the 2015/16 academic year, a rise of 23 per cent on the previous 12 months.

Of the funds pledged, £838.7m had been received, up by 10 per cent on 2014/15.

Across the universities surveyed there had been an increase of 16 per cent in spending on fundraising and a 10 per cent rise in spending on alumni relations on the previous year, says the report, which was compiled by the European branch of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Despite the increase in total funds raised, the overall number of donors fell slightly, down by 0.5 per cent on the previous year to 229,060.

This included 223,356 individual donors, of which 80 per cent were alumni of the institutions to which they made donations. Alumni made donations totalling £322m of the total funds raised, the report says.

Legacy donations from 1,179 donors made up £104.7m of the total secured funds.

Donations from organisations were more likely to come from trusts and foundations, which gave £442m, than from companies, which gave £82m.

The report marks the 15th year in which the survey has been conducted.

TJ Rawlinson, a member of the Ross-Case editorial board and director of development and alumni relations at Cardiff University, said: "Today's announcement that philanthropic commitments to higher education have this year surpassed £1bn is a real landmark."

She said the growth from a few million pounds when the survey first started was "testament to the hard work of more than 2,100 fundraising and alumni relations professionals, and the academic colleagues they strive to support, in inspiring donors to invest in education and research, thereby transforming lives and society".

Tricia King, global vice-president of Case, said: "University fundraising is dependent upon building long-term relationships with donors, and their investment over time demonstrates a powerful belief in the capacity of universities to tackle world problems.

"It’s particularly pleasing to see that our alumni make such a major contribution. It’s clear that they, more than anyone, have experienced the benefits of university study, and it’s gratifying that they want to give back."

- The story originally said that spending on fundraising and alumni relations had fallen by 16 per cent and 10 per cent respectively

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