Research

As a seasoned development professional, I’m motivated to produce research that helps fundraisers become more effective and donors be better understood.


Areas of Interest:

Message Framing in Nonprofit Communications

My dissertation explores the social contextual influences that affect both how fundraisers frame charitable appeal messages and how donors respond to those messages. Initial results have been presented at conferences for the International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR) and the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). My co-authored research on motives affecting preferential use of framing is currently under review for the European Journal of Social Psychology.

Identity and Philanthropic Behavior

Much of my work involves the intersections of social identity and philanthropic behavior, particularly gender identity and religious identity. While a research assistant for the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI), I assisted with quantitative and qualitative projects on gender differences in charitable giving, specifically, giving around retirement, distribution of giving across nonprofit subsectors, and high-net-worth donors’ support for women and girls. My co-authored research on the latter as been published in the International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing. As part of my dissertation research, I’m using grounded theory methods to explore how the religious beliefs and practices of Catholic pro-choice female donors influence their charitable decisions. My research draws on theories related to social identity, individual decision-making, and feminist theory, among others.

Nonprofit Pedagogy

As an instructor of both academic courses and professional development workshops, I appreciate research on evidence-based, high impact practices. I recently co-authored a chapter titled “Teaching Philanthropy: Developing Critical and Compassionate Approaches to Giving,” in the book Teaching Nonprofit Management. My work examining the role of mindfulness in service-learning instruction has been published in the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership.

Fundraisers and the Fundraising Profession

I explore topics relating to how fundraisers learn their craft, become socialized into the profession, and find professional support. I’m particularly interested in the unique challenges faced by fundraisers in small development shops and rural communities. My co-authors and I have presented our projects on fundraiser support and education at conferences for ARNOVA and ISTR.


Qualitative & Quantitative Methodology Used:

  • Content analysis
  • Behavioral experiments, online and in-field
  • Individual interviews with Grounded Theory analysis
  • Surveys
  • Focus groups

Dissertation in Progress:

“Reading Between the Lines: Social Contextual Influences on the Production of and Response to Charitable Appeals.”


Selected Research Training and Recognition:

Fellow, Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI), 2020
Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Emerging Scholar Award, 2019
Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA)

Ph.D. Seminar, 13th International Conference in Amsterdam, 2018
International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR)