What we learnt from King’s College London Fundraising [Advancement Tour to the UK]

What we learnt from King’s College London Fundraising [Advancement Tour to the UK]

01 UK Advancement Tour Kings College Fundraising
01 UK Advancement Tour Kings College Fundraising

Day 1 at King’s College London

Last August for our Advancement Tour to the UK, a group of fundraising consultants from AskRIGHT accompanied participants from Australia and New Zealand to meet leading fundraisers in the UK.

They had the fantastic opportunity to meet with staff from King’s College London (KCL), one on the most successful UK universities in fundraising, to learn more about their fundraising success and their great World questions|King’s answers campaign.

The 3 elements of King’s College London’s overall fundraising success

Edward Byrne AC, Principal of King’s College London, opened the session and spoke to the strength of King’s College London, praising the development team for enabling the College to become what it is today. This was inspirational for all development professionals in the audience.

Professor Byrne credited three things to King’s College London’s fundraising success:

  1. the development team’s knowledge of their community
  2. the departments non-silo structure
  3. a fundraising advisory board willing to roll their sleeves up

As fundraising consultants, we often press to our clients the importance of a team effort in fundraising and the results at King’s College London show the impact this approach can have for philanthropy.

Professor Byrne has been Principal and President of King’s College since August 2014 and was previously President and Vice-Chancellor at Monash University. During his tenure Monash’s position in the global university rankings rose considerably from 176 into the 90s in Times Higher Education, elevating it to the top 100 internationally for the first time, and in the Shanghai Jiao Tong World University Rankings from 220 into the 130s.


KCL’s World questions|King’s answers campaign

Matt Ferguson, Director of Principal Gifts at King’s College London spoke about the KCL’s World questions|King’s answers campaign.

This ambitious campaign set the fundraising goal of £500 million by 2015, only to reach that goal 18 months early with more than 250,000 gifts. The College then extended the target to £600 million.

Matt Ferguson is the Director of Principal Gifts at King’s College London and King’s Health Partners. He joined in 2007 starting in major gifts and now leads on developing transformative gift projects, such as the £20 million gift to establish The Dickson Poon School of Law. He leads a team that specialises in securing transformative philanthropic gifts in support of the Worldquestions|King’s answers campaign to raise £600 million.

Kings College London Fundraising CampaignGiving to the campaign will help Kings’ College London answer pressing issues in five fields:

  • Global Power
  • Mental Health and Neuroscience
  • Cancer
  • Leadership and Society
  • Child Health





In August 2015 it was expected King’s College London will have raised £600M by the end of the year and at the time of our visit the College was grappling with how to close the campaign while not taking “their pedal off the gas” and losing momentum for fundraising.

We are watching King’s College London closely to see how they bring to a close this incredible campaign.

As the Director of Principal Gifts, Matt specialises in donations of £3 million or more – otherwise known as transformational gifts – securing some of the biggest gifts in UK Higher Education. For Matt, running a campaign is a management tool for creating the fundraising infrastructure and for aligning the fundraising and institutional priorities.


King’s College London’s World questions|King’s answers merged its fundraising with King’s Health Partners during the campaign. While it wasn’t without its challenges, this merger had a significant and positive impact on the College’s capacity for fundraising. The merging allowed to:

  • increase the range of fundraising activities
  • enable access to more prospect across the whole spectrum of activities

Merging two major institutions is more common overseas than in Australia at the moment, but it is a solution more non-profits are looking towards in order to ensure sustainability. Mergers can be partial or full, and each option can include fundraising operations. For fundraising it is important that the history and legacy of each merged institution are not lost and the brands of each institution remain alive in some way – this will help to minimise donor attrition and enable fundraising to continue on the foundations each institution may have already built.


Matt Ferguson also gave a very insightful presentation on fundraising in Asia, click here to learn more.



Our fundraising consultants and our prospect research team can help you build a capital campaign and find donors to raise more money for your ambitious projects. Email admin@AskRIGHT.com or call 1300 758 812 (Australia) / 0274 929 636 (New Zealand) o find out more!




Lauren Vertigan

Lauren Vertigan

Former Fundraising Consultant at AskRIGHT
Lauren has worked with numerous national, state and local organisations in Australia and overseas over the past decade, helping them to achieve their fundraising objectives.
Lauren Vertigan

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