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AFP Foundation for Philanthropy/Skystone Partners Research Prize Awarded to Book Written by Fundraisers Turned Scholars, Aaron Conley & Genevieve Shaker

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Lori Gusdorf, CAE, Executive Vice President, (703) 519-8449

(Arlington, Virginia) The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Foundation for Philanthropy has awarded the 2023 AFP/Skystone Partners Prize for Research on Fundraising and Philanthropy to Aaron Conley and Genevieve Shaker for their book, Fundraising Principles for Faculty and Academic Leaders, published by Palgrave Macmillan.

More than a "how-to" manual, Fundraising Principles for Faculty and Academic Leaders is grounded in the growing academic literature on philanthropy and written by fundraising practitioners-turned-scholars. It includes evidence-based recommendations to help academicians excel in raising philanthropic support, notably emphasizing research revealing donors’ giving motivations. Case studies of successful fundraising and volunteer-driven initiatives are included. The authors drew their original inspiration for the book from David D. Perlmutter’s seven-part series in the Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled Don't Fear Fund Raising

Dr. Conley"We are truly honored to receive this award and join the distinguished list of past recipients,” said Dr. Conley. “We wrote this book with the intention of casting a light on the extensive research that's been conducted in philanthropic studies in recent decades. While our primary audience is professors and academic leaders, we believe fundraisers across the nonprofit sector will benefit as well from the book's insights and applications. Fundraising is a profession, and AFP has been a driving force in this effort. Our book is written in this same spirit, demonstrating to academicians that there is an increasing body of science to help inform the art of fundraising."  

Dr. ShakerDr. Shaker added, “As fundraisers ourselves, we know firsthand how valuable it is to have research-informed insights to help drive our practice and how helpful it is when the rest of the team understands the work of fundraising. With this book, we wanted to help academic leaders grow their fundraising savvy and knowledge by bringing research and experience to bear, which in turn supports fundraisers in their mission-central work. This award is a wonderful validation that the book is achieving these ends. The prize also helps to elevate the field of fundraising and brings attention to its importance to the nonprofit sector. We are grateful to the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy and to Skystone Partners for this opportunity and honor.”

Dr. Conley is the Founding Partner of Academic Advancement Partners, which provides teaching and coaching programs for gift officers, deans, and other academic leaders. Dr. Shaker is an Associate Professor of Philanthropic Studies and the Donald A. Campbell Chair in Fundraising Leadership at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Drs. Conley and Shaker are both faculty members of The Fund Raising School. 

The prize jury that reviewed each nomination commented that, "Fundraising Principles for Faculty and Academic Leaders's unique contribution to the profession is the distillation of a large and growing body of research about philanthropic behaviors and fundraising tactics made accessible for leaders not previously trained in fundraising.”

This year, the jury also recognizes the book, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Advancement: A Guide to Strengthening Inclusion, by Dr. Angelique S.C. Grant and Ronald J. Schiller as an honorable mention. Their book is a timely resource for individual fundraisers and organizations seeking strategies for achieving behavioral change and sustained success in meeting DEI objectives.

Each year, the AFP Research Council awards the Skystone Partners Prize for Research to the author or authors of a book that contributes substantially to the knowledge and understanding of fundraising or philanthropic behavior. The award is made possible by an endowment established by Skystone Partners, an international fundraising consulting firm, through the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy to encourage advanced research that extends the knowledge of fundraising and philanthropy.

“Skystone Partners is proud to support pioneering research in philanthropy and fundraising through the AFP/Skystone Partners Prize for Research. Fundraising practice founded on knowledge, backed by quantifiable research, elevates the level of professionalism of each of us. This work by Aaron and Gen is a tremendous addition to the field and a must-read for anyone in an academic leadership role who seeks to be (or must be!) a fundraiser. Fundraising Principles for Faculty and Academic Leaders provides guidance supported by data and years of practical experience,” said Elizabeth Kohler Knuppel, president and CEO of Skystone Partners.

The AFP Foundation for Philanthropy champions philanthropy and volunteerism by strengthening the nonprofit sector’s current and future leaders, welcoming diverse new voices into the charitable world, and rigorously upholding the highest standards of ethics. The foundation currently focuses on developing fundraising leadership programs, supporting research on critical issues in the profession, building a stronger sector through a more diverse workforce, and renewing public trust in charitable organizations. More information about the foundation can be found at

Skystone Partners and its diverse team of fundraising consultants have counseled nonprofits and managed campaigns with goals from $1 million to over $500 million. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, the firm and its U.S.-based professional staff members are currently serving institutions throughout North America and the world.  For more information, go to

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