The HEFCE Review of Philanthropy to UK Higher Education: a contract to provide research, analysis and expert opinion – and produce a high-profile report


Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) distributes public money to universities and colleges in England – and ensures that this money delivers the greatest benefit to students and the wider public.


HEFCE’s ‘Thomas Report’ of 2004, Increasing Voluntary Giving to Higher Education, was a landmark. But by early 2012 the world had changed. Many of the recommendations of the Thomas Report had been implemented. It was time to embark on a new review.

Project dates

Professor Shirley Pearce, Chair of the Philanthropy Review Panel, says:
“More Partnership was very productive from the first moment of engagement. The team had a mix of skills and deep understanding of the sector that would be difficult to replicate. Joanna, Rebecca, Adrian and Simon were our main contacts, but I know they drew on their colleagues’ expertise as well.

“As for the report itself, More Partnership helped us to be imaginative in the structure and content – and confident in our recommendations. We had the confidence to say that we don’t have to do things exactly the same way as the US. Nor do all British institutions have to do things the same way as each other. We also had the confidence to involve donors this time around, which was something we weren’t ready for at the time of the Thomas Report.

“More Partnership shares our belief that if British institutions invest in fundraising – and hold their nerve – they will see returns. Nothing is certain of course, but I’m convinced that we can, as a sector, collectively reach £2 billion a year in gifts and 630,000 donors by 2022.

“One thing that is certain, however, is that More Partnership worked hard, delivered well and – believe me, this is important – was great fun to work with.”

What happened next

In 2013 HEFCE commissioned More Partnership and Richmond Associates to produce a second major report, An emerging profession: The Higher Education Philanthropy Workforce (published in 2014).