Australian and New Zealand universities’ continued investment in funding reaped high returns on philanthropic giving in 2019. Total new funds secured grew from 2018 to 2019, with median value AUD8.3 million.

AUSTRALIA—The Council for Advancement and Support of Education released findings from an annual survey measuring philanthropic impact on the higher education sector, based on data from 33 universities in Australia and New Zealand, the highest participation rate in eight years since the survey began.

This increase in participation amounted to a rise in philanthropic funds secured, peaking at AUD783 million. The CASE Support of Education Survey, Australia and New Zealand shows new funds secureda grew by 15 percent from 2018 to 2019, with a median value AUD8.3 million, while cash income which typically corresponds to and follows the new funds secured, grew by 11 percent from 2018 to 2019 with a median value of AUD8.1 million.

Notably, continued investment in fundraisingb reaped remarkable returns on fundraising activity. Institutions invested a median value of AUD124 thousand per full-time equivalent (FTE) fundraising staff member, resulting in a five-fold return on new funds secured and a six-fold return on cash income receivedc per fundraising staff member.

 Other key findings from the 2019 survey data include:

  • 101 cash gifts of AUD1 million and above were received by 23 institutions in 2019, with more than half of these received by just four institutions. For a consistent cohort of 30 institutions[1], the cash gifts of AUD1 million and above showed an increase of 20 percent over 2018 figures.
  • New bequestd intentions confirmed increased 36 percent1 from 2018 to 2019, up from a 28 percent decrease during 2017 to 2018. Go8e and non-Go8 institutions saw increases of 37 percent and 34 percent respectively.
  • Production and distribution costs of an alumni magazine saw a reduction of 8 percent from 2018 to 2019, following a 13 percent decrease from 2017 to 2018.
  • While the number of contactable alumni has grown by 11 percent from 2017 to 2019, alumni donors are on an overall downward trend with a decrease of 16 percent during the same time period.

Professor Margaret Gardner AC, president and vice-chancellor of Monash University, chair of the Group of Eight and chair of the CASE Council for Asia-Pacific comments, “Universities are central to the education system that supports our aspirations of being at the forefront of innovation. A great university imparts not only foundational knowledge and skills, but also a profound set of skills for life, informed by robust research and scholarship.

“Philanthropic funding is becoming more critical in supporting universities’ goals, including enabling researchers to work on life-changing breakthroughs and helping students from different backgrounds achieve their potential. This demonstration of continued support through philanthropic giving to universities is encouraging, especially as we navigate strategic engagement of our stakeholders in the midst of crises.”

“The results of the survey demonstrate the depth of value that donors and supporters of higher education continue to place in universities in the region,” says CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham.

“The work of advancement, of engaging stakeholders throughout the community in the work of universities, has become embedded and recognised as key to the strategic progress and vision for institutions across Australia and New Zealand. This will only become more important in the coming years.”

Next year’s CASE Support of Education Survey, Australia and New Zealand will be administered in the first half of 2021.

[1] The year-on-year trends were calculated for a consistent cohort of 30 institutions that provided information for a key set of variables for all three years – 2017, 2018 and 2019.

a New funds secured: New funds secured by an institution includes new donations/gifts received, new confirmed pledges not yet received, realised bequests and the market value of gifts-in-kind; it excludes payments of pledges made in previous years. Measuring new funds secured reflects the success of current fundraising activity.

b Investment in fundraising: The costs associated with the efforts to secure new funds and cash income. Total fundraising investment includes the cost of the staff undertaking fundraising and other costs of running and maintaining the fundraising operations.

c Cash income received: Cash income received by an institution includes all the cash that is received during the year, including new single cash gifts, pledge payments for current and prior years, cash received towards recurring gifts and cash realised from bequests. Cash income reflects the success of the current and past years’ fundraising activity.

d Bequest: A bequest is a commitment or pledge that a transfer of wealth will occur upon a donor’s death. Within the survey, bequest gifts are counted only in either new funds secured or cash income received (depending on the type of gift) once they are received.

e Group of Eight: The Group of Eight (Go8) is a coalition of research-intensive Australian higher education institutions (refer to the Go8 website for further information https://go8.edu.au/). Out of the 33 participating institutions, eight are from Go8.

About the CASE Support of Education Survey, Australia and New Zealand

The CASE Support of Education Survey, Australia and New Zealand, previously the Charitable Giving to Universities in Australia and New Zealand Survey, has been conducted annually since 2012. The research provides data on charitable giving, donors and investments in fundraising and alumni relations for universities in Australia and New Zealand and complements similar surveys conducted in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. The survey is part of AMAtlas, CASE’s global resource for educational advancement-related metrics, benchmarks and analytics that provides a range of other data and resources for schools, universities and colleges.

About CASE

CASE believes in advancing education to transform lives and society. As a global non-profit membership association of educational institutions, CASE helps develop the communities of professional practice that build institutional resilience and success in challenging times. The communities include staff engaged in alumni relations, advancement services, communications, fundraising, government relations, marketing and student recruitment. CASE is volunteer-led and uses the intellectual capital of senior practitioners to build capacity and capability across the world. CASE has offices in Washington, D.C., London, Singapore and Mexico City. Member institutions include more than 3,600 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and non-profit organisations in 82 countries. CASE serves more than 90,000 practitioners.

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