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Aaron Conley, Ed.D.

Founding Partner

Aaron Conley is an experienced fundraising practitioner, teacher, and author. He earned an Ed.D. in higher education and philanthropic studies from Indiana University in 1999. Since 2014, he has been a faculty member of The Fund Raising School in the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, teaching more than 30 courses in major gifts, campaigns, and others at various locations around the country. These courses lead to a Certificate in Fund Raising Management, which he completed in 1997.

Prior to founding AAP, Dr. Conley was Sr. Vice President with Grenzebach Glier and Associates, a global philanthropic consultancy in Chicago and London. He led the firm’s teaching and coaching practice, developing new educational programs for fundraisers, deans and other academic leaders, and volunteer boards which were delivered to clients ranging from small liberal arts colleges to major research universities in the U.S. and abroad.

Before consulting, he served in senior leadership roles including Vice Chancellor for Advancement at the University of Colorado and Vice President for Development & Alumni Relations at the University of Texas at Dallas. Earlier in his career, he led development and alumni programs for the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, the College of Business at Florida State University, and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. 


He currently serves on the board of trustees at the Foundation for the Callier Center for Communication Disorders at UT Dallas, and is a past member of the board of directors for the Indiana State University Foundation. He also completed the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University in 2013.

A frequent speaker at academic and professional conferences, Dr. Conley has also been a guest on The Fund Raising School's podcast, where he's discussed discerning donor motivation and campaigns. He has published the following peer-reviewed works which have been cited in more than 200 research publications: 


Campaign Essentials.  In G. Shaker, E. Tempel, S. Nathan and W. Stanczykiewcz (Eds.).  Achieving Excellence in Fundraising. 5th ed. Hoboken, NJ:  John Wiley & Sons, 405-417


(Co-author with Genevieve Shaker). Fundraising Principles for Faculty and Academic Leaders. New York: Palgrave Macmillan


Securing Donor Support for Unrestricted Endowments: A Case Study in Higher Education. Philanthropy & Education, 1(1), 48-63


Capital Campaigns.  In E. Tempel, D. Burlingame and T. Seiler (Eds.).  Achieving Excellence in Fundraising. 4th ed. Hoboken, NJ:  John Wiley & Sons, 243-258


(Co-author with Eugene Tempel).  Philanthropy.  In D. Priest and E. St. John (Eds.).  Privatization and Public Universities.  Bloomington, IN:  Indiana University Press, 151-172


(Co-author with Wesley Lindahl). Literature Review:  Philanthropic Fundraising. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 13(1), 91-112


(Co-author with Eugene Tempel).  The Student Foundation as a Community of Participation:  A Study of its Impact on Alumni Giving. CASE International Journal of Educational Advancement, 1(2), 120-134