Jason Janik Photography / The Dallas Foundation

Aaron Conley, Ed.D.

Founding Partnter

Aaron Conley is a highly-experienced fundraising practitioner as well as a scholar of philanthropy. He earned an Ed.D. in higher education and philanthropic studies from Indiana University in 1999. He also serves as a faculty member for the Fund Raising School in the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, teaching courses in major gifts and capital campaigns at various locations around the country. These courses and others lead to a Certificate in Fund Raising Management, which he completed in 1997.


Prior to founding Academic Advancement Partners, Dr. Conley was Senior Vice President with Grenzebach Glier and Associates, a global philanthropic consulting firm in Chicago and London. He led the firm’s Teaching & Coaching Practice Area, developing new educational programs for fundraisers, academic leadership, and boards and volunteers which were delivered to clients ranging from small liberal arts colleges to major research universities.

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 the 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 was a recent guest on the Fund Raising School's podcast, where he talked about campaigns. He has published the following peer-reviewed works which have been cited in more than 175 other research publications and is currently co-writing a book on fundraising for academicians: 


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


(Co-author with Eugene Tempel).  Philanthropy.  In Priest, D. and St. John, E. (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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