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Helping South African universities build sustainable futures
Advancement isn’t just a euphemism for fundraising. It’s about systematically putting things in place to attract resources – things like networks for alumni and outward-facing amenities like an art museum – that cause people to say, “We want to be a part of that.” And in South Africa, this was an area where universities needed assistance. The Kresge Special Initiative on Advancement began working with five South African institutions in 2006 to help them build their advancement capacity and increase private fundraising revenue threefold. After that successful pilot, four universities from the first cohort then joined a second cohort of four universities.
Durban University of Technology (DUT)
Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)
University of Johannesburg (UJ)
University of the Free State (UFS)
University of the Witswatersrand (Wits)
University of Pretoria (UP)
University of the Western Cape (UWC)
Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
Where Inyathelo Works
Nineteen of South Africa’s 23 universities sought to participate in Kresge's first round of funding for advancement support. Five ultimately took part: four universities and a teaching hospital. Over five years, The Kresge Foundation awarded annual (but declining) operational support for each institution’s advancement operation, plus annual increasing bonus grants if the grantees met their annual fundraising goals. The initiative sought to build a community of trained advancement professionals, a set of institutions that can act as role models, and a group of university vice chancellors who understand how their role in advancement plays out in relationships with their students and alumni, cities, communities, local businesses and national government.
CPUT was created out of the merger of the previously whites only Cape Technicon and the Coloured Peninsula Technikon. In its first five years in the Inyathelo cohort, CPUT increased its institution giving by nearly 52 million rand ($3.9 million).
The UWC advancement operations raised less than 2 million rand ($150,000) in 2006, the year the university joined the Inyathelo Advancement Initiative. During the first five years of work, the UWC advancement department raised 550 million rand ($41 million) to build a massive life-sciences building. Six stories high and more than two football fields long, this now iconic facility stands in the middle of UWC’s Belleville campus.
Wits joined the first cohort of institutions in 2007, one year into the initiative. By the end of the five years, the first cohort of five institutions were raising about 580 million rand ($43.5 million) per year – a threefold increase. Funds raised through the Kresge Special Initiative contributed to the opening in 2012 of the Wits Art Museum and to the construction of a new School of Public Health, one of the university’s most research productive and influential departments.
As a premier Afrikaans university, the University of Pretoria was well funded during Apartheid. But once Apartheid ended, it needed to find new resources as it embraced a more inclusive mission. Now with a majority of black students, the University of Pretoria has strengthened its advancement to serve new generations of students and expand its excellence in research, teaching and community engagement.
In 2016, Durban's Development and Alumni Relations department launched the “Missing Middle” campaign designed to support students who are too affluent to receive government support designed for the poor, but not wealthy enough to easily pay for a university degree. The campaign embraced the principles of crowd-funding in a multipronged approach and targeted the student population. A cohort of volunteer students asked peers to contribute to the campaign by committing to a monthly donation of at least 10 rand (75 cents). The campaign was designed to cultivate a sense of ownership in students by giving them the responsibility to take charge of their own education and to help support needs of fellow students who need more financial support.
In 2016, Tshwane increased its giving by more than 5 percent, exceeding its own targets and bringing in more than 27 million rand ($2 million). Working with Inyathelo, the university launched the Tshwane University of Technology Bursary and Scholarship Fund, which is working to raise 50 million rand ($3.7 million) before the end of 2019, to offset government funding and to directly help students afford to attend the university.
The UJ Development's office mission is to open doors between potential funders and the University and to ensure mutually beneficial outcomes in exchange for financial support, to secure the longevity of UJ. The UJ advancement office raised close to 18 million rand ($1.3 million) in 2016.
UFS exceeded the donor income target of 71 million rand ($5.3 million) set for 2016 milestones, hitting 75 million rand ($5.6 million). Alumni Relations has developed a strategic plan and has held a number of functions to start building relationships with alumni, with a special focus on young alumni.
At each university, individual champions have brought Inyathelo's advancement work to life. And while they have built advancement functions on each campus, each campus has adapted their efforts to fit local conditions and needs. Read six stories of the people and faces behind Inyathelo the organization and from a few of the university partners. Read them here.