Practices and experiences of fundraising leadership in large rural associate's colleges in a southeastern state
Due to changes in economic and social climate, including a decrease in state and federal funding, Associate's Colleges began to supplement their search for funds by fund raising. Associate's Colleges' fund raising has evolved and the purpose of this research was to scrutinize philosophies, perspectives, practices, relationships, and experiences of collegiate staff involved in institutional fund raising in large rural Associate's Colleges in a southeastern state in order to promote prosperity in resource development. The researcher's objective was to endeavor to document the roles of institutional actors in the fundraising process, their training, background, organization, and how their tactics differ when approaching corporations and individuals. In addition, the study looked at governance of foundations and fundraising staff specifics (job descriptions, student use, size related to funds generated). This included the roles of governance, philosophies, resources, methods of procuring funds, and reporting. This study displayed differences and similarities in fund raising practices at large rural Associate's Colleges in a southeastern state and described the setting in which these events took place. The participants in this study were ten fund raisers connected with Associate's Colleges of varying ages, educational backgrounds, and fund raising experience. Data for the study were derived from semi-structured interviews with each fund raiser, a foundation meeting observation, and a review of fund raising related documents. Using basic qualitative methods, the researcher conducted a thematic analysis of the data which enabled him to organize that data into manageable segments where he coded it. This process enabled the researcher to establish connections between the collected data and the research questions. Three major themes emerged from data analysis: (a) Relationship Management is Fund Raising; (b) Relationship Management is a Product of Resources and Communication; (c) Profitable Fund Raising Involves Maximizing the Potential of Four Factors: Participants, Environment, Experiences, Philosophy. Moreover, the study answered how large rural Associate's Colleges in a southeastern state developed fiscal resources in a climate of reduced state and federal funding.