INTRODUCING A FUNDRAISING CULTURE TO EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS: A DEMANDING AND ON-GOING PROCESS

O. Horner

University of Minnesota (UNITED STATES)
The purpose of this exploratory paper is to provide an overview of the process of introducing a fundraising culture to European higher education. For this study, I focus on the following conceptual domains: (1) the peculiarities of governance and funding of higher education institutions in Europe, (2) the need for diversification of funding mechanisms, and (3) barriers to fundraising in higher education in Europe. My review considers prescriptive literature offering recommendations for higher education institutions embarking on the exploration of new funding options and an empirical study of a Central European university’s and an East-European university’s fundraising campaigns providing evidence of successful, although intuitive, practices and consequences with respect to seeking alumni’s support.
In constant pursuit of excellence, due to declining government funding, higher education in Europe has been encouraged to develop alternative sources of support, such as private and corporate giving. Although the American experience of educational fundraising and academic research findings are a valuable source of professional development for European fundraisers, the analysis of contextual barriers to fundraising for higher education in Europe suggests adaptations and modifications to this process, which fit the unique circumstances of the European states and the needs and priorities of higher education institutions.