The Higher Education Funding Council for England has hinted at the possibility of collaboration with the wider charity sector to increase philanthropy in higher education, in a recently-launched consultation.
The consultation looking at the future of philanthropy in higher education is part of a wider review on the matter, looking at how to address challenges in the ever-growing finance mechanism for universities. A board of higher education stalwarts has commissioned the More Partnership to support the review.
In a question under a section named 'The Future' the HEFCE indicates an interest in future collaborative efforts between higher education institutions (HEIs) and with the wider charity sector in a bid to increase philanthropic funding in the education sector. It asks:
"Is there more room for collaboration with other organisations in order to increase philanthropy in higher education? For example: collaborative projects between HEIs; more collaboration between philanthropists and fundraisers in different sectors eg the arts or the conventional 'charity' sector; or more academic research into what makes fundraising succesful?"
The consultation is responding to a "growth in significance and impact" of philanthropy in higher education of recent years. "One of the key drivers of this growth was the 2004 Thomas Report 'Increasing voluntary giving to higher education task force report to government'," the HEFCE advised.
"Many of the recommendations of the Thomas Report have been implemented, notably interventions such as the fundraising capacity-building scheme funded by HEFCE and administered through UniversitiesUK and the subsequent £200m government matched funding scheme, as well as enhanced leadership commitment at HEIs and more extensive training of professional fundraising staff.
"It is clear that fundraising and philanthropic support will continue to have an increasingly important role to play in contributing to the total resources available for higher education as well as enhancing the current student and alumni experience."
The consultation is looking for a large range of responses asking questions directly to both donors and those with experience in dealing with philanthropy. Other questions asked range from, "What do you think are the critical factors that lead to success in attracting philanthropic funds in a higher education institution?" to "What could be done at government level, or by HEFCE or similar agents to encourage best practice in fundraising?"