USM Foundation

Fundraising Talks – March 2024

on March 5, 2024 by Micaela Cameron
Reflecting pool on campus

News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research

Letter from the Director

Welcome to the March Fundraising Talks. I hope you enjoyed the warmer days we experienced in the past few weeks! It’s evident that spring is almost here. Regardless of the season, higher education institutions rely on philanthropic support from various sources such as foundations, corporations, and individual donors. Some of these gifts are considered transformational when they have the potential to make an outstanding impact on the mission and advancement of an institution. Studies on philanthropic and fundraising data can help educational institutions understand and measure the impact of fundraised dollars and identify areas that require improvement. This type of analysis is possible by surveying educational institutions and studying the data at a national level.

CASE recently released the “CASE Insights on Voluntary Support of Education (VSE).” Even though the full report will be available in April, the 2023 key findings from the VSE report provide a wealth of information on the performance of philanthropic support for nonprofit and public higher education institutions in the United States. The report contains data from 757 institutions and directly focuses on fundraising data in higher education. Findings from the report include:

1. Charitable Giving to U.S. Colleges and Universities was estimated at $58 billion in 2023. Total giving in 2022 was $59.50 billion, showing a decline in total giving by $1.9 billion in 2023.

2. Data reveals an increase in organizational giving, driven by a 3.2 percent increase in giving by corporations and a 4.4 percent increase in giving from organizations, which may include giving from DAFs. There is also a 1.8 percent decrease in giving by foundations.

3. Reports indicate that the decline in individual giving at the end of 2023 is highly influenced by the performance of the stock market. “Many of the major indexes were down considerably,” and this “could have led donors who intended to make major gifts in 2023 to postpone the payments until the market recovered.”

4. There were 11 gifts of $100 million or more in 2023, including one bequest, one corporate gift, two from individuals, three from DAFs, and four from foundations.

5. 26.7 percent of the annual giving total was raised by six public institutions and 14 private institutions. These 20 institutions received a total of $15.50 billion.

6. The list of institutions included in the amount raised per student capita contains nine private research/doctoral institutions, three private baccalaureate institutions, six medical institutions, and two theological institutions.

7. Based on data on the amount raised by the level of gifts, only a small number of contributions make up most of the funds received.

8. While older alumni groups may be more capable of making a financial gift, keeping younger groups engaged in other ways will provide future benefits to institutions.

The VSE survey findings are important for institutions to see how they are performing compared to similar ones. Educational institutions should improve strategies to enhance individual donor giving. As the VSE report mentions, one way to improve individual giving is by engaging younger alumni through targeted digital communications, special events, and providing volunteer opportunities. On the other hand, if an institution is lacking organizational giving when the VSE data suggests that organizational giving rose in FY 2023, it needs to examine ways to improve giving in this area. I wish you a wonderful spring and continued success in your fundraising efforts. If you need information on corporations, foundations, or other organizations, we will be happy to assist. 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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