Testing the Effectiveness of Fundraiser Job Titles in Charitable Bequest and Complex Gift Planning

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5 Scopus citations


Traditional fundraiser job titles are often institution centered, focusing on the benefits of fundraising as “institutional advancement” or “institutional development.” Such institution-centered job titles may not be as effective with donors given the modern shift toward donor-centered philanthropy. Alternative job titles can be gift centered (for example, “major gifts”) or donor centered (for example, “donor advising”). A survey of 3,188 respondents tested sixty-three job titles in four charitable scenarios: a charitable bequest gift, a gift of stock, a gift of real estate, and a charitable gift annuity. Measured by which person donors would be more likely to contact to discuss each donation, the worst-performing titles were the traditional institution-focused fundraiser job titles, in particular those using “advancement,” “institutional advancement,” or “development.” This was also true when examining only respondents who had made large gifts ($500+) to a charity. Traditional institution-focused job titles are both the most commonly used and the worst performing. Nonprofit managers may do well to consider the donor's perspective when selecting job titles for fundraisers rather than following traditional industry practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-179
Number of pages15
JournalNonprofit Management and Leadership
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • charitable bequest
  • fundraising
  • job titles
  • philanthropy
  • planned giving


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