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University of Southern California

Service Provided: Philanthropy Fundamentals for Academic Leaders

An initiative by the dean of the Rossier School of Education resulted in the establishment of numerous new centers that capitalized on the depth of Rossier faculty expertise. AAP was engaged to deliver Philanthropy Fundamentals for Academic Leaders to help a dozen of these center directors better understand how to engage potential donors in the mission of their center. Major gift officers from Rossier and USC’s development office also attended. This program was co-delivered in January 2020 by Dr. Aaron Conley and Dr. Wesley Lindahl.


The half-day seminar focused on research findings identifying the giving motives of high net worth individuals along with exercises on building a constituency of new donors and volunteers. Particular emphasis was placed on establishing and utilizing high performing advisory boards. Each participant also received a one-hour individual coaching session to discuss specific donors, strategies, and engagement opportunities for their center.

Select comments from program participants:

“Thorough, thoughtful and no non-sense.”


“Just hearing the successful examples and tips was incredibly useful to me. I have some concrete suggestions and strategies I plan to pursue.”


“[The instructors] were fantastic! I’m ready to connect with my first donor!”

These comments were provided through the confidential evaluation conducted at the conclusion of every AAP teaching and coaching program. Completed evaluations are provided back to the client to help evaluate program effectiveness and other opportunities for fundraising improvement.

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