Media Statements

For immediate release: Wednesday, 3rd August 2011

The South African Institute for Advancement – Inyathelo - is warning that unless universities take action to address their growing funding crisis, they will struggle to sustain themselves in future. Inyathelo says higher education institutions in South Africa now get less than half their funding directly from government and the brakes have also been put on above-inflation fee increases as a means of making up the shortfall.

Inyathelo Programme Director Gabrielle Ritchie says universities must actively seek out more ‘third stream’ funding - whether it be through donations, investments, research contracts or other entrepreneurial activities – if they want to survive and thrive. “We are fast outliving our ‘developing nation’ status that helped secure significant support from international donors during and after the struggle. Per capita, South Africa has received more donor funding for education than probably any other country in the world over the past three decades but we can no longer rely on past generosity. Increasingly, we are going to need to win support, in open competition, for research and developmental projects from donors,” warns Ritchie.

As part of its efforts to ensure the development and sustainability of higher education institutions in South Africa, Inyathelo has organised a seminar in September which will examine all critical aspects of Advancement, providing universities with both the theory and practical applications for tapping into new sources of funding and keeping them flowing. Sessions will be facilitated by leading local and international players in institutional Advancement and cover key topics like prospect research; donor stewardship; building a base of alumni support; campaign management; and communications and branding.

Inyathelo Programme Manager Nazli Abrahams says building educational capital and enhancing collaboration between foundations, individual philanthropists and other institutions requires investment and expertise. “Those willing to put their hands in their pocket and pull out a six-figure sum expect time and money to be spent on them. So you need to build the capacity within your institution first, if you want to mobilise resources. Our September Spring School is designed to help university academics and administrators who are involved in donor management, community-building or the implementation of strategies to secure financial and other support for their higher education institutions,” explains Abrahams

According to Gillian Mitchell, former Director of Advancement at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, fundraising can no longer be a peripheral or ad hoc activity. “Successful fundraising programmes need to be prioritized functions which are adequately resourced and comprehensively integrated into the strategic development of the institution.  The squeeze on donor funds is not unique to South Africa. World economies are struggling and demand is climbing, putting tremendous pressure on donors to respond in ways that they wouldn’t have had to consider 10 or 15 years ago.  Under these circumstances, the need for clarity of purpose, strategy and delivery has become a critical success factor for potential grantees.  Need alone is no longer sufficient cause for attracting donor investment. Institutions have to demonstrate that they are providing effective solutions if they wish to remain competitive in attracting third stream income,” explains Mitchell.

The Inyathelo Spring School 2011 runs from 5 to 7 September 2011 in Cape Town. Registration closes on 15 August 2011. For more information, call 021 465 6981 or visit


For more information and interview requests, please contact:

Nazli Abrahams

Programme Manager

Inyathelo - The South African Institute for Advancement

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cell:  072 177 5732

Gabrielle Ritchie

Programme Director

Inyathelo - The South African Institute for Advancement

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cell: 082 453 9827


Gillian Mitchell

African Gender Institute at UCT

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cell: 083 462 9880