‘An emerging profession: The higher education philanthropy workforce’ is the first report to take a detailed look at the fundraising workforce in UK universities and colleges. The ‘Review of philanthropy in UK higher education’ in 2012 (the ‘Pearce report’) set an ambitious goal: that by 2022, universities and colleges would be raising £2 billion per year in gifts from 640,000 donors. The workforce – currently numbering around 1,800, with demand outstripping supply – will need to double, if not triple, if universities are to reach this potential. The new report makes recommendations on how to attract, retain and develop the extra staff needed to achieve that target, and supplies a toolkit for accomplishing this.
Professor Dame Shirley Pearce, the Review Group chair, said:
‘I hope that higher education fundraising becomes one of the careers of choice for our very best graduates. Our work has proved that investment in fundraising brings results whatever the size or type of university or college. If this success is to continue we must have a strong and growing group of educational fundraisers who are skilled in leading development teams and working with academics and institutional leaders.’
A clearer career path, the use of straightforward language to describe fundraising roles, and greater openness to candidates from a wide range of backgrounds, are among the report’s recommendations.
‘An emerging profession’ examines the qualities of a good fundraiser and outlines the skills, competencies and knowledge base needed in successful fundraising teams. The toolkit published with the report provides practical advice about what to look for, and how to recruit and retain top people.
The report, produced by specialist fundraising consultants More Partnership and recruitment specialists Richmond Associates, is the result of a consultation with 750 people across the sector. This included an online survey that was completed by a quarter of the fundraising workforce in higher education.
Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, said:
‘Fundraising is now core to the plans of ambitious universities and colleges. This report is an important step along the path for this emerging profession, and I urge all those affected to take its recommendations seriously.’