Education Fundraising Slowed in 2015-16, Survey Finds

Development professionals at U.S. schools, colleges, and universities estimate that gifts in support of their institutions increased 4.5 percent during the academic year that ended on June 30, a survey conducted by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education finds.

According to CASE's annual fundraising index, the estimated growth is less than the 6.2 percent increase survey respondents had predicted heading into the year. And the forecast for 2016-17 is only 5.2 percent — lower than the twenty-year average increase of 6.1 percent.

According to the survey, the biggest increase in year-over-year fundraising was registered by community colleges (7.2 percent). Development professionals at community colleges also were the most optimistic about the coming year, predicting a year-over-year increase of 7.3 percent, while fundraisers at independent schools were the least optimistic, with a projected increase of 4.6 percent.

"This survey further evidences the remarkable commitment of philanthropists to investing in education," said CASE president Sue Cunningham. "It is encouraging to see increased support for education, which plays a critical role in transforming lives and society. The outcomes detailed in the CFI Survey are, as ever, the result of the engagement of many working within educational organizations together with their broader communities. Relationship building with integrity and respect is critical to this success."

"CASE Fundraising Index Survey: U.S. Educational Fundraisers See Lower Growth in FY16 but Predict Stronger Gains in FY17." Council for Advancement and Support of Education Press Release 08/19/2016.