2009 donations decline at MSU, across country
Donations to MSU in 2009 fell 4 percent from the previous year, but the drop was lower than the Big Ten average, according to a survey released Wednesday.
The report, released by the Council for Aid to Education, or CAE, found the national average in giving decreased 12 percent between July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009. The Big Ten averaged about a 10 percent decrease. More than 1,000 institutions participated in the survey.
MSU placed fifth in the Big Ten in terms of percentage change. According to the survey, the university raised about $122.7 million in donations from individuals, corporations and other sources for the 2009 fiscal year. The university raised about $128.1 million in 2008.
Percentage change in Big Ten donations
Each university’s 2009 donations and percentage change from 2008
1. University of Illinois: $145.2 million (3.7 percent)
2. Penn State University: $180.8 million (2.7 percent)
3. Purdue University: $173.8 million (-.1 percent)
4. Ohio State University: $237 million (-.14 percent)
5. Michigan State University: $122.7 million (-4.2 percent)
6. University of Iowa: $116.9 million (-5.5 percent)
7. University of Minnesota: $272.3 million (-11.5 percent)
8. Northwestern University: $181.7 million (-15.5 percent)
9. University of Wisconsin: $341.8 million (-16.7 percent)
10. University of Michigan: $263.4 million (-21 percent)
11. Indiana University: $247.6 million (-39.4 percent)
Source: Council for Aid to Education
Bob Groves, MSU’s vice president for university advancement, said MSU officials were aware of how many donations the university received in 2009 and that the survey provides MSU with an opportunity to make comparisons nationwide.
He said although MSU experienced a drop less than the national average, the survey’s results surprised him.
“We knew our numbers, but I think I was surprised that the numbers were down so severely across the country,” Groves said. “It gives us a better benchmark of what’s happening at other institutions.”
The top two Big Ten schools, — the University of Illinois (3.7 percent) and Penn State University (2.7 percent) — experienced an increase in donations from 2008-09.
Purdue University’s donations remained almost equal between the two years, decreasing only 0.1 percent.
Indiana University (-39.4 percent), the University of Michigan (-21 percent) and the University of Wisconsin (-16.7 percent) had the largest decreases in the Big Ten.
MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said MSU places a high priority on raising donations and she is pleased with the university’s showing.
“The raising of external dollars is a very important priority for the university and our goal is to raise more money each year than the year before,” Simon said.
Groves said it is too early to tell what MSU can expect in the year ahead as far as donations.
However, he said numbers tallied last month indicated donations were up slightly compared to the year prior.
“Through the end of December, we were actually up a little bit,” Groves said. “I think there has been somewhat of an improvement in the stock market since last spring, so that has been helpful.”
MSU Trustee Faylene Owen, chairwoman of the MSU Board of Trustees finance committee, said although donations declined in 2009, the small percentage decrease shows the university still has many supporters.
“I believe that our supporters will continue to value Michigan State and will do so in increasing numbers,” Owen said in an e-mail.
Groves said the fundraising process is “a never-ending job.”
He said MSU continues to use tactics, such as phone calls to alumni, to maintain donations to the university.
“Part of our challenge is, despite the economy … we don’t slow down in our efforts,” Groves said. “We are doing everything we can to try to maintain and increase that support.”