Engage Students Now To Become Lifelong Donors

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and Campbell & Company released the findings of a joint global survey focused on development and alumni relations professionals at higher education institutions of every type to gather perspectives and best practices on a critical but often neglected area: student philanthropy. 

Students as Lifelong Donors

For a majority of the 211 institutions surveyed, investment in student philanthropy can be characterized by limited financial resources, minimal staffing, and lackluster efforts at student engagement. Other results from the survey suggest a silver lining: increased organizational dedication to engaging students as donors through a variety of practices can lay the foundation for better long-term fundraising outcomes. 

“We view this as the beginning of an important dialogue. Not enough emphasis has been placed on the value—and potential value—of student philanthropy programs,” says Peter Fissinger, President and CEO of Campbell & Company. “We’ve only begun to examine whether and how we can help shape lifelong donors to colleges and universities. We hope others join the conversation and help pursue additional research uncovering the best practices for investing in and monitoring student programs, and connecting these programs to strong alumni giving programs.” 

Key findings include:

  • More than two-thirds of the institutions surveyed have a staff working group or a campus organization dedicated to student philanthropy, but 24 percent reported that efforts to engage students are sporadic. Nearly one in 10 institutions had no activity in student philanthropy at all.

  • Only 13 percent of advancement professionals rated their institutions as having a high or very high degree of success in engagement with students as lifelong donors

  • Most institutions invest little in student philanthropy. During the most recent fiscal year, nearly half of the institutions surveyed allocated $2,500 or less to student philanthropy. Only 30 percent dedicate more than $5,000 annually.

  • Institutions that spent less than 50 cents per enrollee received gifts from just 2.8 percent of the student body in the past year, but institutions that spent more saw much higher participation rates—10.9 percent of students gave.

  • Getting feedback from all types of stakeholders-- administration leadership, students, and other campus constituents--was associated with an average increase of 2.5 percentage points in current student donor rates.

Read the complete report here.

About CASE

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)  is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas.

About the Campbell & Company Higher Education Practice

The Campbell & Company Higher Education Team understands the context in which higher education institutions operate, and create a structure and process within that context, tailored to your community, that allows philanthropy to grow. For 37 years, we have successfully partnered with a range of higher education institutions, including large public universities, mid-majors, private liberal arts colleges and community colleges. We also draw on our staffs’ experience to develop initiatives for specific higher education segments including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and professional schools.

Campbell & Company maintains offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, DC. For more information, please telephone (877) 957-0000 toll free, email info@campbellcompany.com or visit www.campbellcompany.com.