The Challenge of Fundraising in Universities in Europe

Carmen Pérez-Esparrells, Eva M. Torre


The current financial context constitutes a challenge to European Higher Education Institutions in the sense that they must look to increasing their budgets with new activities. This context has led governments and European universities to promote not only the traditional private funding sources (such as transfer of knowledge or tuition fees), but also new means of raising supplementary philanthropic (private) funds for educational and research purposes. Therefore, the actual European context may also represents an opportunity for the development of their fundraising strategy, since a determined fundraising program will bring supplementary private funds to the institutions reducing the frequent internal resistance and increasing the willingness to overcome the lack of experience in this field in Europe.

This paper highlights the change and opportunity that raising independent income from donations implies, in order to achieve excellence and add value to core funding. Here we review UK and Spain cases with special attention in two case studies: Cambridge University, as an example of a well-known prestigious European university with extensive experience in fundraising; and the University of Navarra, as a case of a relevant experience in fundraising policy in a private southern European university.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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