Veteran college presidents, highly ranked colleges and urban institutions have a better chance of luring big donations, according to a recent study  by Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates, a consulting firm, and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
The study, released in December and presented Monday to a gathering of presidents  convened by the Council of Independent Colleges, examines reported donations of $1 million or more from 2000 to 2012.
The researchers found some of the expected things. For instance, an institution that can better articulate its mission was more likely to get large donations. It also found how the haves benefit from large donations in ways that would be hard for the have-nots to do so: older colleges with higher rankings from U.S. News & World Report, more students and larger endowments tended to get larger donations.
But the study also found, to the surprise of some, that colleges in the South and the West fared better than those in the Northeast at attracting large donations. The study also highlighted some disparities. Rural institutions, for instance, received 11 percent fewer multimillion-dollar gifts than non-rural colleges.