USM Foundation

Fundraising Talks – January 2023

on January 18, 2023 by Micaela Cameron
Reflecting pool on campus

News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research

Letter from the Director

Happy New Year! As we enter 2023, we’re curious about what new challenges and trends lie ahead for higher education. 2022 was widely referred to as the “post-pandemic” period, when organizations adapted to a “new-normal” to resume operations and deliver services. Though it felt like a new era emerged, the feeling of a “new normal” didn’t seem to fully settle in. Let’s hope that 2023 brings a renewed spirit that allows each of us to outperform last year’s successes and improve in areas where needed. Learning new skills and about upcoming trends will help development professionals perform more efficiently.

EDUCAUSE, “a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology,” recently produced the 2023 Higher Education Trend Watch Report. This report identifies trends in higher education and focuses on shifts in workforce, culture, and technology. The report doesn’t solely focus on fundraising. However, factors mentioned in the report closely relate to advancement services at higher education institutions. Some of the wider trends in the higher education landscape in 2023 include:

  • Closer alignment of higher education with workforce needs and skills-based learning
  • Continued adoption and normalization of hybrid and remote work arrangements
  • Continued resignation and migration of leaders and staff from higher education institutions
  • Declining public funding for higher education
  • Expansion of the digital economy, including expanded use of blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs
  • More calls for data-informed decision-making and reporting
  • Expansion of the digital transformation of higher education
  • Increasing focus on creating equitable environments
  • Need for improved data literacy and skills to keep up with growth in big data and analytics

A comprehensive list of trends can be found here. If you have not seen already, you might also want to check out some more recent trends in an article from the Chronicle of Philanthropy. It outlines five aspects that will shape fundraising in 2023: staffing, economic conditions, diversifying fundraising, political polarization and inclusion of donors from all backgrounds. As you can see, some of these trends are reflective of things already happening in higher education. Institutions can read this article and plan ahead to reduce potential pitfalls. For instance, a decline in higher education public funding is mentioned in the article. In order to alleviate the impact of this, we may think about increasing funding through private philanthropy, which can be challenging if the economy goes into a recession. Also mentioned in the article is calls for data-informed decision making and reporting, which means that institutions will have to invest in resources at many levels in data infrastructures and governance. Equipping your institution to overcome these challenges will require strategies and good planning.

I hope you are off to a great start this year! As always, please feel free to reach out to us with questions, comments or any assistance with fundraising research!

Best Regards,
Sapna and USM Advancement Research Team
Read more in this issue of Fundraising Talks>>

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