A recent article in the Chronicle for Higher Education discusses how Asian universities are adopting American-style fundraising efforts in order to increase private funding to universities. It is a difficult transition to make, as most alumni of Asian universities are accustomed to governments footing the bill for tuition and fees. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“Universities increasingly understand that if you are ever truly going to be internationally competitive you have to raise your own money, says Krista Slade, executive director of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Asia-Pacific office, in Singapore. The huge endowments raised by U.S. universities are one of the reasons they are consistently rated the top in the world, says Ms. Slade. In cultures where education is so highly prized, donors pay attention to that notion.”
The article also explored the motivations of giving by Asians, and noted that it was not because there wasn’t a culture of giving or philanthropy, but simply that there was no asking that was done:
“The suggestion that some Asian ethnic groups, the Chinese in particular, are simply unwilling to share their wealth is scoffed at. “There is no lack of a giving culture, there is a lack of asking,” says Ricky M. Cheng, director of the office of institutional advancement at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “Chinese people are not used to being asked for money. Westerners are very straightforward: ‘Hey, I need your help.’ But if you ask a Chinese the right way, they will give.”
Uncovering the ‘right way’ to ask, across the various Asian cultures, and developing key relationships with donors, will be the key to fundraising success in Asia.