‘Review of Philanthropy in UK Higher Education’ is a landmark report that sets out the success of universities and colleges over recent years in attracting philanthropic gifts from a more diverse range of donors. The report, produced by specialist fundraising consultants More Partnership, shows how universities and colleges have worked hard, with the support of Government, to deliver these gains.
According to the report, central to successful fundraising is the need for universities and colleges to have a clear identity and a compelling case for charitable support, which aligns with the institutional mission and with the interests of donors.
Crucial to success is understanding what motivates donors to give. The most cited reasons are that they wish to see their donations making a real difference to students, and that they wish to contribute to the advancement of knowledge.
The review also highlights the importance of leadership from within universities and colleges for successful and sustained fundraising.
Whereas in the past higher education looked to the US for good practice in fundraising, there is now a lot of expertise within the UK to be celebrated. There is potential to develop this pool of fundraising professionals, and encourage fundraising as an attractive career option.
The review also challenges conventional thinking around what makes for successful fundraising.
The review makes a number of recommendations addressed to universities and colleges, to the Government and to HEFCE. It also sets out the challenges for the next decade, emphasising that fundraising is a long-term game that requires ongoing work in order to retain the support of donors.
Professor Shirley Pearce, Chair of the Review Group, said:
‘There has been a step-change in philanthropic giving to higher education over recent years. Successful institutions can be found right across the sector. They have shown strong leadership and have aligned their philanthropic goals to their academic strategy. Increasingly the UK is developing a body of good practice in fundraising and is developing the people it will need for the future. There is a real sense of momentum and this must be maintained. If the current trajectory continues, UK higher education institutions can expect to receive up to £2 billion per annum from some 630,000 donors by 2022'.
HEFCE Chief Executive, Sir Alan Langlands, said:
‘This report highlights the strong and continuing tradition of philanthropic giving to higher education. This is an important source of discretionary income, supporting activities beyond those met from core funding streams. The real beneficiaries here are those students whose lives have been changed and those who gain from the application of the knowledge created through the generosity of donors. We will do all we can to support the implementation of the report’s recommendations’.