Our specialist recruitment team for advancement recently attended the CASE Europe Annual Conference 2023 in Edinburgh; a key meeting of professionals dedicated to educational advancement in alumni relations, development, communications, marketing, and operational services.

The sessions provided some fascinating insights across a range of themes, from how AI can support advancement, through to developing a culture of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging.

Equally, it was wonderful to catch up with some of our clients and partners across the education landscape, and indeed meet new and developing leaders and hear about their challenges and aspirations for growing their teams.

A key standout was learning about the new CASE and More Partnership publication; ‘Accelerating ambitions: a decade of giving to higher education and how it informs the future’, which reviewed of a decade of fundraising in UK higher education. The review reflected on the fact that UK universities have almost doubled their annual fundraising income over the past decade and that philanthropy is playing an increasingly important role in UK education, all in the context of modest investment in staffing.

A clear factor affecting success was consistent commitment to staffing and resourcing the advancement function, with greater effort to diversify this valuable workforce. My team and I often hear this from senior leaders across the sector and understand firsthand how it’s more important than ever to develop agile, diverse and integrated advancement teams.

It was incredibly encouraging to hear from various directors that they had won the internal fight and gained sign-off to make substantial staffing investment and expand the expertise in their advancement teams.

We have in-depth experience of supporting the diversification and development of advancement teams, partnering on a series of large-scale multi-role recruitment campaigns. Examples include the University of Exeter and University of Bath, where we successfully recruited a range of senior leaders, from major gifts fundraising specialists, through to supporter engagement and operational support leads.

Diversity is at the heart of everything we do and is crucial to our success, reputation, and the organisations and people we work with. We believe that more diverse advancement teams in the higher education sector will accelerate positive change in society.

We also believe that our commitment to building diverse organisations starts with us, and we are proud that women, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities and people from the global majority consider this a great place to work.

Our extensive networks and thorough processes ensure we find and attract exceptional people. We provide a bespoke and highly personal approach to identifying, engaging and appointing advancement professionals for a wide range of clients. We understand the importance of placing experts and professionals within this sector to enable a transformative future; whether raising funds for scholarships, academic positions, research centres or capital projects.

Professional, highly experienced and empathetic, our team really love what they do. We know the education and fundraising sectors, worked in it, and we continue to support it by finding the best candidates for our clients.

Whilst challenges face the sector, the future is bright for advancement.


James Hunt is our Head of Not for Profit Appointments, specialising in advancement executive search. With over 17 years’ experience in executive search, James is driven by finding the right leaders to propel advancement and fundraising in the higher education sector. You can connect with James on LinkedIn, or email him at James@peridotpartners.co.uk to start an informal chat about your recruitment needs.