Higher Ed Alumni Giving tops $12B in FY23; Breadth of Engagement Programs Drives Success

Christina Balotescu

February 26, 2024

Many hands together with a heart painted on them, implying generosity

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education just released their 2023 “Insights on Voluntary Support of Education” for the United States. As with all their work, the research is thorough, trustworthy and helpful.

Alumni relations leaders will want to read the brief in full. Here are the key excerpts. 

And since we're all about building supportive communities for higher ed institutions, we’ve added links to help you achieve success.

  1. In FY 22-23, “higher education institutions in the United States raised $58 billion, the second-highest amount on record. The highest year on record was the previous year, in which $1.5 billion more was received than this year.” 
  2. Giving from individuals declined by double-digit percentages, while organizational giving increased modestly.” 
  3. Giving from Alumni amounted to $13.5 billion (22.7% of overall giving) in 2022, and $12 billion (20.7% of overall giving) in 2023.
  4. The 20 institutions that raised the most in 2023 received a total of $15.50 billion, which is 26.7 percent of the annual total. Six of the top 20 institutions in 2023 are public; 14 are private. 
  5. “These [top 20 fundraising] institutions represent less than one percent of all U.S. colleges and universities. Often, they are large institutions with a wide array of programming, including arts centers and research facilities. This breadth of activity draws philanthropy from a broad spectrum of individuals and entities. In a sense, these institutions resemble multipurpose nonprofits.”
  6. “As alumni age and become more financially solvent, they are more likely to give, and they give more. However, CASE InsightsSM on Alumni Engagement survey data reveal that engaging alumni in modes other than philanthropy, which could lead to future charitable contributions, also matters. Moreover, these forms of engagement are themselves of value to  institutions. The other modes of engagement are communications, experiential, and volunteering.”  
  7. The highest band of alumni donors are those 51+ years out. These account for 37.3% of alumni donations. 22% comes from those 41-50 years out and 21.4% comes from those 31-40 years out.  

Our takeaways are:

  • The staggering number of dollars raised by the top 20 schools indicates much more opportunity for smaller institutions and community colleges. The right technology tools can make fundraising success easier than ever to achieve.
  • Diverse modes of engagement remain critical to engaging a diverse constituency.  It sounds obvious, but we are still surprised when we read about institutions who only engage their alumni to ask for donations. How do your alumni perceive your communications?
  •  It’s not easy to engage different bands of alumni separately, yet it’s important to ensure that younger and older alumni have access to each other. Limited resources and staff make a centralized platform with powerful search, list management and communications tools more important than ever. 

To learn more about how 360Alumni helps colleges, universities and high schools bring all these modes of engagement together in a single platform, reach out.

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