The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) is the global nonprofit association dedicated to educational advancement professionals, who share the goal of championing education to transform lives and society.

To achieve this transformation, colleges, universities, and independent schools rely on the financial support and active involvement of alumni, donors, parents, government, the local community and corporate partners. Peridot Partners specialise in recruiting professionals in educational advancement and so were delighted to attend this year’s CASE Europe Annual Conference in Edinburgh, where we were able to take part in a broad range of sessions and meet with our networks within the sector.

A session that was of particular interest was ‘An interview with Alison Traub’, the Executive Director of Development, at the University of Cambridge. She successfully led the university’s ‘Dear World….Yours, Cambridge’ campaign to raise £2 billion for the University and Colleges of Cambridge. Launched publicly in 2015, over the next ten years, the campaign became the largest in Cambridge’s history and surpassed its target, closing at £2.2 billion.

In her interview, Alison gave some valuable insight into this groundbreaking campaign. For example, she described the importance of expanding the development team quickly by recruiting the best talent at the start of the campaign. In 2013, she started with a team of 15-20 fundraisers and went onto treble the size of the team!

At Peridot, we have a strong track record in supporting universities to scale up their development teams quickly and have led a range of multi-role campaigns for institutions such as the University of Exeter, University of Bath and King’s College London, where we successfully recruited for multiple roles simultaneously. We also have extensive experience in recruiting advancement professionals for universities who are about to embark on a campaign and prioritise working closely with our clients to ascertain their goals and plans for the future.

It’s not just the larger, more well-known universities we recruit for. We work with a wide range of education providers with development teams of varying sizes, including colleges and independent schools, such as the Royal Grammar School Newcastle and Goodenough College.

During the conference, it was intriguing to speak with attendees and hear how recruiting and retaining experienced development staff continues to be a long-term challenge as demand grows. It was however refreshing to hear that there is an increased focus on recruiting people with transferable skills from outside of the fundraising sector. For example, it is known that the University of Oxford is open to candidates outside the advancement sphere, with backgrounds in areas as broad as finance, law, and sales.

At Peridot Partners we are proud that our broad range of networks extends well beyond the not for profit and higher education sectors, and we are highly committed to recruiting people with transferable skills from the private sector into advancement. In addition, our extensive networks mean that we can reach and attract potential candidates from overseas, as demonstrated in our work with Imperial College London.

We’re happy to share that over the 2022-2023 financial year:

  • 58.99% of our placements were female
  • 9.35% were from the LGBTQIA+ Community
  • The average age was 49.02
  • We recruited across 19 ethnic groups, with 2.16% of placements with Asian heritage and 2.6% black heritage
  • 12.95% of our placements had a disability

At the conference we also heard with interest how income for universities from corporate partnerships, trusts and foundations and legacies are all growing and are likely to continue to do so in future, therefore it is best not to focus purely on individuals and alumni. Peridot recruits for all educational advancement professionals – not just individuals/ alumni for example, corporate partnerships, trusts and foundations, legacies, prospect research, communications, marketing and operations. We also recruit for roles at a variety of levels of seniority e.g., CEOs, Directors, Deputy Directors, Heads, Managers and Senior Officers.

Finally, post-pandemic it was interesting to hear how often hybrid working was seen as an essential component to achieving work-life balance. As recruiters, we have seen first-hand how important this is to candidates and also how offering hybrid working means employers can attract a wider pool of talent.

In conclusion, a highly informative and successful conference – we look forward to being back next year!