Picture of smartphones with app

We have been working on a project in Geography and Environment at Loughborough University over the last year to build a set of digital resources for fundraising and development in African Universities. I got to work on everything from archival research, podcast production and app development in React Native. I’m really excited to see how people make use of it.

New digital resources to support philanthropy at African universities

Loughborough University, in partnership with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and higher education institutions in Africa, has created a freely available mobile phone app and website to support fundraising and advancement professionals working in African universities.

Researchers in Geography and Environment from Loughborough University and fundraising professionals at CASE, the global association for advancement and philanthropy in higher education, have worked with practitioners from the University of Ghana, Strathmore University (Kenya), Lagos Business School, the University of Ibadan (Nigeria), the University of Cape Town and the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) to develop new digital resources.

The resources include a mobile app, website, podcasts and videos. The 12-month project, funded by an award from the Higher Education Innovation Fund, builds on CASE’s 15 years of experience working with African universities and the extensive research in philanthropy and university funding conducted by Loughborough University’s School of Social Sciences and Humanities.

The app and website cover four key areas, with case studies and insights from a wide range of African higher education institutions:

  • Getting started in advancement, including priorities on a budget and developing a fundraising strategy
  • Advancement strategies, including corporate fundraising and communicating with alumni
  • Practising advancement, including understanding cultures of giving and using databases
  • The role of leadership, including measuring success and learning from others

Ronica Ramsout, Head of Research and Information Systems at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and a contributor to the project, said: “This series of digital resources will assist African HEIs to accelerate the development of their advancement practices and position themselves to attract philanthropic income.”

Debo Adeosun, Director of Advancement at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, commented: “I consider these resources a veritable asset for both new and experienced advancement professionals. I recommend them to tertiary institutions, especially in Africa where educational advancement is beginning to be appreciated.”

Bruce Bernstein, Executive Director, CASE Europe, said: “This app provides our African community with exactly what they tell us they need – digital access to the best ideas and case studies about how to fundraise successfully. As the African community scales up its expertise, so too can the application scale up. We hope this app will become a model for similar products serving other regions.”

Michael Hoyler, Reader in Human Geography at Loughborough University and one of the project leaders, added: “A key aim of the project was to co-produce digital resources that are sensitive to the specific contexts of African higher education. We are delighted with the outcome which highlights the importance of bringing together research insights and practitioner experience for the future success of advancement activities in universities internationally.”

Other members of the Loughborough University team in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities included Professor Morag Bell, Dr James Esson and Dr Amil Mohanan. The 12-month Enterprise Project was funded by an award from the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF).

The resources are now freely available at: http://www.fundraisingafrica.lboro.ac.uk as well as on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.