Why universities are "racing ahead" on fundraising

(via CharityChoice)

By Joanne Donahoe

The release of the annual Ross-CASE Survey of Charitable Giving to Universities results is akin to Christmas morning in my books. I really look forward to the survey results – to understand how the University of Southampton performed (of course!) and the sector as a whole.

The results, which showed university fundraising surpass the £1bn per year milestone for the first time, are crucial for establishing a strong evidence base for investment or spotting trends. They highlight direct correlations in capacity building and significant increases in philanthropy – Leeds and Birmingham being two great examples.

This year’s survey is against a backdrop of significant discussions around fundraising regulation and best practice. But let’s not forget that philanthropic success over the long term is rooted in meaningful engagement with our constituents – the supporter journey is key. 

In 2015 Southampton launched its first fundraising campaign; its aim being to raise £25m. We are building the nation’s first dedicated centre for cancer immunology. Through a compelling case for support, senior buy-in, engagement with academics, students and staff, embracing new ways of giving and technology, an improvement in team culture and a very talented major gifts team, we saw a tripling in income and donors in three years. 

We raised the sights of our donor community, the university and ourselves and as a result, we are planning our first comprehensive campaign. This is all very exciting and may sound fairly textbook… but our success needs sustainability, and our next campaign will only truly succeed if we put engagement firmly on the table with philanthropy.

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