Education fundraising expected to decline 4% in 2009

With the recession forcing many businesses and consumers to cut back on spending, nonprofit organizations and philanthropic foundations are also feeling the pinch.

A recent report by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) predicted that philanthropic donations to educational institutions will decline by 3.9 percent by the end of 2009.

“The steep decline confirms that we are in uncharted economic territory that may be having an equally uncharted impact on private philanthropy to education,” said John Lippincott, president of CASE.

However, when the economy recovers, education philanthropy should also expect to rebound – the CASE Fundraising Index, which is based on the Council for Aid to Education’s Voluntary Support of Education Survey, should begin to bounce back in 2010 with a 2.5 percent increase.

“Donors committed to giving to education are still stepping up to the plate, and those who may not be able to give now are still talking with fundraisers about making gifts when the economy recovers,” Lippincott said.

Though the 2010 prediction marks an improvement from this year’s expected decline, it is still well below the 20-year average growth of 7.1 percent, CASE indicated.

The index also found that fundraising professionals at private universities were more optimistic about future philanthropic performance than their counterparts at independent schools and public universities or colleges.

The index results will be used by education fundraisers to benchmark their current performance, as well as set expectations and help plan for future performance, Lippincott indicated.

The twice-yearly index had been showing signs of future decline since the July 2008 survey, with reports of slowed growth. The January 2009 survey predicted a 1.7 percent decrease in 2009 education fundraising, 2.2 percent less than this survey’s rate.

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