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Title page for ETD etd-03282011-122956

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Proper, Eve
Author's Email Address eve.proper@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-03282011-122956
Title The outcomes of board involvement in fundraising at independent, four-year colleges: an organization theory perspective
Degree PhD
Department Leadership and Policy Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Michael McLendon Committee Chair
James C. Hearn Committee Member
Timothy C. Caboni Committee Member
Will Doyle Committee Member
  • philanthropy
  • fundraising
  • colleges
  • trustees
  • boards
Date of Defense 2010-12-07
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation examines the role of trustees in fundraising at private liberal colleges in the United States. It consists of two studies. The first study uses quantitative data from a 2004-2005 Council of Independent Colleges survey as well as the IPEDS and Voluntary Support of Education surveys. Multiple regression is used to determine what board variables influence total individual, corporate, and foundation giving. Most alumni demographic factors are not significant, although having higher percentages of alumni on the board negatively influences individual and corporate giving, and the percentage of the board in the field of medicine positively impacts foundation giving. However, the models for foundation and board giving explain very little of the variation. The second study is a set of three qualitative case studies of CIC-member institutions. All are PWIs in the Southeast with weak ties to Protestant denominations. In this analysis, the roles of board members are compared with what the literature, both theoretical and normative, suggests they ought to be. Board members at “Pine,” “Maple,” and “Oak” do not view themselves or act as principals in a principal-agent relationship with their president. Their involvement in fundraising is primarily limited to giving, with other tasks such as fundraising calls only undertaken at the administration’s request. Most do not make fundraising policy, solicit donations, or refer prospects; most have undergone no training in fundraising and do not have very sophisticated understandings of fundraising, either in general or at their college in particular. Board members, in short, are expected to be donors, but the board as a whole does not have collective fundraising duties.
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