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How Colleges Can Get Bigger Donations

A new study looked at the characteristics of universities that received donations of $1 million or more to help other schools raise more money.

ISU

Photo: Courtesy Indiana State University

Dede Plaza at Indiana State University

Several factors contribute to how much money colleges and universities receive in donations, including location of the school, how long it’s existed and employee benefits. That is according to a study released this week by the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy.

The study looked at the donations of one million dollars or more to thousands of universities from 2000 to 2012, to try and find common factors between the schools that received large gifts.

Angela White is CEO of Johnson Grossnickle and Associates, a consulting firm that works with higher education institutions and commissioned the study. White says her firm wanted the research so they could work with their clients on how to attract bigger donations.

“We’ve got to have a transformational project,” White said. “We’ve got to have a visionary president that has been around the institution long enough to build relationships with top prospects and we have to have an engaged, donating board of directors.”   

Una Osili is the School of Philanthropy Research Director. She says if universities can raise more money, it will have a ripple effect.

“These million dollar donations have the capacity to change the institution and provide more opportunities for students and faculties and the universities and the communities they’re located in,” Osili said.

The study looked at donations to 1,449 universities in the United States.

Here’s the cumulative amount of money in donations Indiana universities received in the last 12 years:

University of Indiana: $1.47 billion

Purdue University: $874 million

University of Notre Dame: $505 million

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology: $166 million

Ball State University: $152 million

Ivy Tech Community College: $123 million

Butler University: $119 million

DePauw University: $114 million

Claire McInerny

Claire McInerny is a reporter/producer for WFIU/WTIU news. She comes to WFIU/WTIU from KCUR in Kansas City. She graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Kansas where she discovered her passion for public media and the stories it tells. You can follow her on Twitter @ClaireMcInerny.

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