Universities in the UK and Ireland have raised over £1 billion over the past year through donations, according to CASE Europe’s annual Ross-CASE survey, as fundraising becomes increasingly important for their financial sustainability.
Philanthropic income to UK academic institutions year-on-year rose by 11% in 2017/18, from £976m to £1.08bn, secured by 100 universities.
Universities in Scotland raised the most in terms of new funds secured at more than £61.3m, while Irish universities raised more than £33m with Northern Ireland accounting for £12.7m of these new funds secured, and the Republic of Ireland for £20.2m. In Wales, the total topped £8.2m.
The report uses cluster analysis based on three-year average figures for key variables related to income, donors, costs and staffing, to group participating institutions into six clusters: Fragile, Emerging, Developing, Moderate, Established, and Elite. This year’s report shows a significant increase in fundraising levels by ‘Developing’ institutions, which have seen a 51% increase on the previous year. Meanwhile, ‘Emerging’ institutions have seen a 15% increase. The number of universities other than Oxbridge now raising £5m a year has also nearly doubled over the past ten years – from 17 to 31.
Despite significant increases in fundraising levels over the past 10 years however, the number of people who donate to their university remains fairly static – currently at 1.3%.
– For the first time on record, the £300m threshold for new funds secured in a single year was passed by a university
– The average value of an institution’s largest pledge was £2.39m (up from £1.87m in 2016-17)
– Of the £1.08bn, total new funds from top three largest pledges contributed to £353m (£311m in 2016-17 of £976m)
– Cash income from legacies has increased by 19% (following a decrease of 11% from 2015-16 to 2016-17)
Sue Cunningham, president and CEO, Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), said:
“Philanthropy represents an increasingly vital resource for higher education, particularly in uncertain times. As funding sources for higher education are increasingly under pressure, engagement with donors has become fundamental to the success of universities.
“This philanthropic support translates into scholarships for students, investment in research, and thoughtful engagement with communities across all institutions in the survey.”