Higher Education institutions across the UK stand to be amongst those most affected by the recent EU referendum. In the face of substantial funding losses, what can universities do to fill the void?
1. Focus on alumni donations
- Alumni represent some of universities biggest donors as they are often motivated in their gifts by a desire to see that current and future students enjoy the same advantages they did in the past
- Studies show alumni are far more motivated by facilitating learning than
- Engaging alumni involves making an appeal for donations, helping them to understand the importance of giving and exactly how the money will be used
- However, it's also essential to communicate the impact alumni contributions once donations have been received - donors will be encouraged to give more if they know they have made a tangible difference
2. Use all available channels to attract benefactors
- US universities have achieved great success in recent years with social media campaigns for funding, e.g. Columbia’s 2013 Giving Day
- Although North American instiutions are far wealthier in the first place, partly due to higher fees, the UK is far behind them in funding initiatives, and could stand to take note
- Crowdfunding is another option with great potential, especially if universities place emphasis on the difference donations can make with reference to specific projects when appealing to donors
3. Appeal to future fundraisers
- It’s not just about donors, but the people who implement the campaigns – HE Development can only succeed through the individuals in charge of the fundraising, and the field needs to work on attracting candidates
- A 2012 report by the Higher Education Funding Council for England suggested that a lack of awareness surrounding the profession, along with the absence of a well-established career structure, constituted the sector’s biggest downfalls
- Tackling these issues will not only help universities to draw in potential fundraisers in the present, but will help them continue to grow their Development teams in the future
The higher education sector, with few exceptions, has been a vociferous supporter of staying in the European Union, and university leaders have been pushing for clarity over the financial implications of leaving. The UK's universities are substantial beneficiaries from EU research funding, and they are anxious about the risk of losing both the cash and their place in international research projects.