Dec 2, 2016 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Where are Australians and New Zealanders donating their money these days? An increasing number of them are embracing philanthropy to the higher education sector, according to recent data from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Here’s a closer look at the findings.

Investing in Education

In conjunction with the Group of Eight Committee (Go8), CASE first debuted its Charitable Giving to Universities in Australia and New Zealand Survey in 2012. Its aim? To provide accurate data for the countries’ development officers, alumni staff, and institutional leaders.

The most recent news is, indeed, promising. In 2015, universities in Australia and New Zealand received 26 percent more in new funds and 25 percent more in cash income than in the previous year. Concluded Tim Dolan, Chair of Go8’s Committee of Chief Advancement Officers, “This is not just a matter of anecdote and impression. With the survey of charitable giving now in its fourth year, we are accumulating real evidence and can begin to see helpful trends in the data collected.”

Even more tellingly, according to Dolan?  “This growth has continued notwithstanding an economy that was less confident than in recent years and despite political uncertainty over funding structures and deregulation. We can see that the right fundraising behaviour, consistently and professionally followed, produces satisfying results.”

Other areas of growth include total number of donors and alumni donors as well as participation by universities -- particularly Australian institutions.

Progress Ahead...With a Catch

While the increased generosity of donors bodes well for a boost to world-class research and university at the region’s higher education institutions, insiders warn of the dangers of complacency. Said Dolan, “One reason for this is the ongoing frustration generated by the shortage of appropriate fundraising professionals. We have all found that the right people are hard to find and difficult to keep. If we could double our fundraising teams, the resulting impact would be phenomenal.” Conversely, failure to find these professionals could stunt university growth.

The takeaway for students looking for an exciting and in-demand career path? A master’s in fundraising management or other fundraising-related topic may be the fast-track to success. 

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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