Monday, 27 May 2013

Fundraising isn't just Fundraising. Fact.

Built in 2007, like many University buildings Edinburgh's Informatics
Forum was funded from private and public sources. 
Major gifts are worth more than their apparent monetary value.  So is any philanthropic funding. Fact.

This simple truth is attractive to donors. Fact.

When I write this, I’m not talking about fact that a philanthropic donation is made by donor who believes in what you’re doing and is thus an advocate for your work though this is also true.  

I’m not even talking about the fact that having multiple income streams de-risks your financial future, though this is something I firmly believe in.

I’m talking about the strategic value of private donations.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in higher education.  Even before the banking crisis of 2008 and the subsequent sea change in public spending, private philanthropy was important to securing public spending.  The funding model for large scale capital projects at my institution nearly always included private money which acted as a pump primer and endorsement, supporting the case for public funding.


These days that model is underscored thrice over by higher education funding streams like the funding councils’ UK Research Partnership Infrastructure Fund which provides infrastructure funding of £10 million – but demands that this is matched twice over by private funding. £20 million of private funding.

Those universities who have been growing their commercial and philanthropic income streams must be feeling quite pleased with themselves right now.  

Universities who have been working with their income generating departments on the development of strategic areas and have significant donors investing in them must be feeling over the moon. 

But this is higher education – it’s not relevant to the voluntary sector, right? 

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