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Aaron Conley, Ed.D.

Founding Partner

Aaron Conley is an experienced fundraising practitioner, teacher, and author. In 2023, he and Dr. Genevieve Shaker of Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy received the AFP/Skystone Partners Prize for Research on Fundraising and Philanthropy for their book, Fundraising Principles for Faculty and Academic Leaders. (Watch a recent interview here). Presented since 1990, this award represents the highest honor in this field for excellence in a published book or research article.

Dr. Conley 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 courses in major gifts, campaigns, and others at locations around the country. These courses lead to a Certificate in Fund Raising Management, which he completed in 1997. He is also a 2013 graduate of the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.

Prior to founding AAP in 2018, Dr. Conley was Sr. Vice President with Grenzebach Glier and Associates, a philanthropic consultancy in Chicago and London, where he led the firm’s teaching and coaching practice area. 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 teams at the school and college level for the University of Pittsburgh, Florida State, and Purdue. 

A frequent speaker at academic and professional conferences, Dr. Conley has also been a guest on The Fund Raising School's podcast, discussing research on donor motives for giving 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

Read a recent book review here.


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

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