U recognized by national organization for fundraising excellence


The University of Utah has been recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) as one of 100 top U.S. educational institutions for its approach and success in fundraising. This is the first time the U has been named a top performer by the group.

“This prestigious national recognition is a win for all of the talented advancement professionals on our campus,” said Heidi Woodbury, the U’s chief advancement officer. “Strategic philanthropy allows the university to invest in people, programs and facilities that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. This award is validation that we are on the right track and that our strategies are working. I extend my appreciation to the advancement administrators who preceded me for setting the stage for today’s opportunities and success.”

The awards are based on a blind review of data submitted to the CASE Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) survey.

Winners are not selected based solely on total funds raised. Two committees of experienced fundraisers (one for independent schools and one for colleges and universities) review hundreds of pages of data from the CASE AMAtlas VSE Survey. They consider a number of factors and variables, including:

  • Patterns of growth in total support
  • Evaluation of gift types and sources contributing to the total support figure
  • Overall breadth of fundraising
  • Patterns of growth in gifts from sources including alumni, other individuals, corporations and foundations
  • Impact of the largest gifts on total support
  • Giving to areas such as current operations, endowment and scholarships and capital projects
  • Amount raised per student
  • Amount raised relative to expenditures
  • Alumni participation

“Whilst today we celebrate the schools, colleges and universities in the United States that embody the best in educational fundraising, we want to acknowledge the people who make such achievements possible,” said Sue Cunningham, CASE president and CEO. “Successful fundraising happens when everyone participates, from the staff and faculty to the institution’s leadership. This inspiring philanthropic engagement is guided by dedicated and professional development staff, and supported by generous volunteers. Collectively, we are advancing education—key to addressing the many serious challenges our world faces today.”

CASE members have access to all of the benchmarking data used to determine winners, as well as fundraising data for scores of other U.S. and Canadian institutions through the online AMAtlas Data Miner. Users have access to 10 years of survey data from more than 1,000 survey respondents.

More about the national award and a list of all winners is available on the CASE website.

Woodbury and the U’s approach to fundraising was recently featured on President Ruth Watkins’ “U Rising” podcast. The podcast and transcript of the conversation is online.

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