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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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‘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’.


  1. The review can be found on the HEFCE web-site. A four-page summary is also available below. 

    Summary of key messages and recommendations

    Download the Review of philanthropy summary as PDF (221 KB)

  2. The review of philanthropy was set up in January 2012 by HEFCE to address the next decade’s challenges in increasing voluntary giving to higher education. The review was chaired by Professor Shirley Pearce, former Vice‑Chancellor of Loughborough University. The other review members were:
    • Nick Blinco, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, University of Birmingham
    • Rory Brooks, Founder, Rory and Elizabeth Brooks Foundation
    • Professor Sir Richard Trainor, Principal, King’s College London
    • Martin Williams, Director of Higher Education Strategy, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
  3. Fundraising consultancy, More Partnership, was commissioned by HEFCE to produce the report following review of data and relevant literature, interviews with institutions and donors, and an open consultation with stakeholders.