Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Daniels, Jessica


Literature suggests that the challenges currently facing higher education will continue, increasing the pressure on institutions to discover and cultivate new funding sources outside of the traditional avenues of tuition, room, board, and fees. Through an exploratory comparative case study research design, the characteristics of the fundraising operations of three small, private, faith-based institutions that have proven successful, as measured by their current U.S. News & World Report and Forbes financial ratings, were examined through individual interviews with six employees at each of these three institutions, including the president, vice president of development, senior development staff members and university trustees. The conceptual framework used for the study was relational management. Emerging themes reflect the characteristics common among successful fundraising operations; those themes include a focus on vision and mission, use of the university president, stewardship practices, storytelling and communication, use of systems, data, and metrics, and a focus on relationship building. These findings suggest that an organization’s focus on these key themes can positively impact fundraising activities to help ensure financial viability for the university and its programs.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation

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