Ross-CASE Report 2018

The most striking takeaway from the Ross-CASE survey: the fluctuation of results from year to year.


While this year’s Ross-CASE survey does not point to significant upward trend lines in key areas, it does offer value to institutions in its nuanced reflection of shifts within higher education fundraising. Over the next weeks, we will be delving deep into the report to provide you with nuanced and thoughtful analysis of the data. Follow us on twitter for the latest.

five key points that caught our attention:

  • The only group with a decline in number of donors was organisations. In a year which saw the introduction of the fundraising preference service, this may indicate a level of confidence in giving to the HE sector.
  • It is encouraging to see investment grow in both staff and resource, across alumni relations and fundraising.
  • Company giving is up. Increasingly we are seeing universities partner with industry and work collaboratively on both teaching and research. This approach is something that Universities should consider.
  • We may all feel disappointed that giving is down, but let’s remember: it doesn’t take a lot to skew this survey. An ‘average year’ in just one or two ‘elite’ universities changes the data!
  • Established offices have declined year on year: 2016: 16, 2017: 14, 2018: 8. How sustainable is high performance?

Graham-Pelton’s nuanced and expert analysis

three critical themes fundraisers should understand

a decade of metrics: what have we learned?

At Graham-Pelton, we believe in responsible consulting and as part of that, we counsel our clients that benchmarking is only one tool among many that can influence a step-change in fundraising results.

more donors giving less: what does it mean?

The decline in overall giving coupled with the increase in donors could suggest a decrease in asking activity rather than a decreased level of interest among donors.

big ideas yield big gifts: think big, ask bigger

As important as it is to have a broad base of support, major gifts offer the most return on investment. Whereas resources spent on donor acquisition through mail or events are often loss leaders, the ROI in major gift prospects can be 10 to 1 or more.

Looking to bring confidence and clarity to your fundraising strategy?

We can help.