University projects significant fundraising increase, philanthropy publication reports

Editor’s note, Nov. 6
University officials and Chronicle of Higher Education reporters confirmed Nov. 4 that the figure the Chronicle published in its report was not an estimate, but was in fact the University’s total fundraising for the fiscal year 2009, which ended June 30.

University administrators have projected that fundraising will increase by $30 million this year – a 44.5 percent increase from 2008 – according to a report published by the Chronicle of Higher Education this week.

This percent increase earns the University the No. 3 spot for fundraising increases by percentage, according to the report, which ranks the top 400 nonprofits across the U.S. for their fundraising abilities, said Noelle Barton, manager of special projects for the Chronicle.

“GW will hop up the list next year if their total stays where they think it will right now,” Barton said.

The Philanthropy 400 is a 19-year-old ranking, Barton said, and “is basically for the philanthropic sector to see what charities are doing the best with fundraising from the public.”

The University ranked 345 out of the top 400 nonprofit companies for fundraising in fiscal year 2008, according to the report. The University raised about $58.6 million from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008, ranking GW among the bottom third of universities on the list, Barton said. She said when a nonprofit reports a much higher expectation for fundraising numbers, the jump is usually because they embark on a capital fundraising project, or have already received a large donation.

“Having a 45 percent increase from year to year is significant, but we have to be careful as to what that might mean,” Barton said. “Whenever it’s a high percentage like that there may be a reason behind that.”

GW’s Office of Development did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Barton said 118 universities are included in the report. Among those 118 universities, only 14 ranked lower than GW in 2008, putting the University in the 104th spot among institutions of higher education.

“The top is Stanford, ranked No. 12 on the list with $785 million raised, down to Bard College, which is the lowest-ranked university, and they are just six shy from the end of the list at 395, and they raised about $48 million,” Barton said. “It is a pretty wide range, and $58 to $59 million is in the lower third of that range.”

While GW is ranked low on the 2008 list, Barton said the University raises “a considerable sum of money.” If the University is able to meet its projected goal for 2009 – more than $84 million, according to the report – the University would move up about 90 spots in the rankings.

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