Philanthropy in higher education is not new. Many great educational institutions were founded on the philanthropy of church leaders, royalty and farsighted patrons.
Philanthropic income is particularly useful in these ways:
- It provides flexible income to support the projects and activities that core funding cannot finance
- It enables universities to build upon their strengths, enhance their student experience, extend their research programmes and create the best possible environments within which people can excel
- It builds networks of friends and supporters who contribute to the long-term well-being of the university in many ways beyond their financial contribution, e.g., acting as ambassadors, providing links with industry and mentoring current students
Fundraising in the context of the higher education sector can be challenging. The complex activities of universities can be difficult to communicate to a wide range of audiences, and some people do not perceive universities as ‘causes’ – especially in countries with a history of strong public funding for higher education.
Fundraising professionals need to break down misconceptions about how universities are funded. Fundraising is an opportunity not only to raise financial resources but also to communicate both the purpose and importance of universities in the world and the impact they have on all our lives – not just the people who study and research within them.