Fundraising is an essential part of the operation of any non-profit organization, especially non-profit higher education institutions. Literature shows fundraising methods in higher education have evolved over time with the need to increase fundraising success. Fundraising organizations have many levels of leadership in their complicated organizational structures. Leaders include but are not limited to the board of trustees, the president, chiefs or vice presidents of development, directors, associate directors, assistant directors, and volunteer boards. The interactions between these leaders and their followers, such as the donors in the fundraiser/donor relationship, affect fundraising success. This research project explored literature regarding the history of fundraising in higher education, organizational structure in non-profit development shops, levels of leadership in fundraising, and importance of leadership in fundraising. A mixed method methodology was used, combining qualitative literature review and a quantitative survey of higher education fundraising professionals that received 62 respondents. Literature and survey were considered to conclude that leadership style, traits, and organizational structure are critical to fundraising in higher education, but other factors can affect fundraising success such as institution type, size, culture, economy, and more.

Project Type


College or School

College of Professional Studies Granite Division

Program or Major