Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of the Arts


School of Communication and Media

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Todd Kelshaw

Committee Member

Philip Bakelaar

Committee Member

Christine Lemesianou


Among the goals of a successful nonprofit organization are to obtain the necessary financial support in order to thrive and establish good relations with and between groups of publics. This research study explores in depth the organizational context of an independent school where the Institutional Advancement Department, which consists of the Development Office and the Communications Office, are principally tasked with achieving both of these goals. The two offices are housed under the umbrella of Institutional Advancement to allow for permeability and coordinated efforts, yet it is unclear if integration is beneficial to the organization at large. Results from an internally distributed departmental survey are supplemented with strategic plans and an overview of the organizational structure to explore the conceptions of success among department members and leadership. Then, a detailed overview of operations through realized actions is presented followed by several research studies that were performed to measure the responses of varied publics. The data is analyzed in order to answer the research question, which is, “What congruences and incongruences exist between Communications and Development at the school?” The study recognizes both strengths and weaknesses of the department and provides recommendations for moving organizational goals forward. Ultimately, the data supports a structure in which both offices are independent of each other, but operate in tandem with the other departments in the organization. Separating Development and Communications creates numerous possibilities to fill voids that currently exist in the organization.

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