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New Index Reports Uptick in Giving to Higher Education

Charitable giving to more than 500 colleges in the United States grew by 0.8 percent in the three months that ended in April, compared with the same period in 2013, according to the fund-raising-technology company Blackbaud Inc.

The increase is reported in a new higher-education specialty index that is based on the latest data provided by Blackbaud’s client institutions. The 558 colleges and universities represent more than 10 percent of all American higher-education institutions and account for more than $1.5-billion in annual giving.

For four years, Blackbaud has reported giving trends on a monthly basis for a number of nonprofit industries. The new numbers for colleges can be viewed by going to the Blackbaud Index and selecting “higher education” under the tab labeled “by sector.”

Other surveys provide fund-raising data for a broader set of colleges, annually or semi-annually, most notably the Council for Aid to Education’s Voluntary Support of Education report, on more than 1,000 colleges in North America. Blackbaud is the first to report aggregated monthly figures for hundreds of institutions.

Among Blackbaud’s clients that track online giving, the new index shows a rise of 20.5 percent during the three-month period that ended in April.

Giving USA, the yearbook of American philanthropy, estimates annual giving to education at $41.33-billion, with $31-billion of that sum going to higher education.

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