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Higher Education fundraising in a time of crisis

by Shaun Horan | Jul 2, 2020 | Fundraising

As a consequence of the Covid-19 crisis, UK universities are managing many challenges as they prepare for a new academic year. These include risks to their financial sustainability and the quality of teaching and research, alongside the human impact of
the crisis on students, staff and alumni.

Against this context, fundraising and alumni relations can seem a little insignificant. Yet the critical role that donors and alumni play in ordinary times is amplified in times like these. One thing that the crisis has taught us is that the uniting of communities has the power to transform lives.

The Covid-19 crisis is unique because the need for funds towards student hardship, research and other university priorities has never been greater. Yet many of the usual working practices that we rely on to fundraise well – telephone campaigns, face-to-face meetings, events – have been made impossible. In other words, at the very moment when philanthropy is needed most, the normal ways of engaging our supporters have been taken away.

So, to better understand the impact of Covid-19 on fundraising and the ways in which institutions have responded, we reached out to five fundraising leaders to discuss their challenges and obtained insights from 20 universities via a short online survey.

Whilst the findings contain few surprises, it has affirmed to us that each institution’s response to the crisis has been as unique as the communities they serve. As we all now prepare to return to life post-lockdown, and enact fundraising strategies and plans accordingly, we hope that the following insights prove useful.

If you’d like to discuss any of our findings in greater depth, get in touch.