The purpose of this study was to explore fundraising at South Carolina's Technical Colleges. The major focus of the study was on presidential characteristics and practices along with various institutional characteristics and fundraising success. The research design was descriptive and employed various methods in the collection of data. Data were obtained from administrative sources, public documents, surveys, and interviews. The study includes general information on South Carolina's Technical Colleges, information from IRS Form 990s on 15 of the colleges, results of survey data from 12 colleges, and follow-up interview responses from 5 of the presidents who completed the survey.
The findings of this study suggested characteristics of presidents associated with fundraising at two-year technical colleges in South Carolina included an earned Doctorate degree, an academic career path to the presidency, and spending most of one's career in higher education. The majority of respondents were male, married, and considered their spouses as integral to their leadership teams. The presidents indicated that they valued time spent most with individuals, major donors, and corporate donors. The presidents placed high emphasis on community relations, commitment to mission, and institutional image. An entrepreneurial leadership style was embraced by the presidents. Foundation characteristics included maintaining a positive image, serving a distinctive niche within the community, and embracing a more professional fundraising approach by hiring consultants. Successful strategies included the president's complete commitment to fundraising and creation of a working foundation board with members of influence and affluence. South Carolina's Technical College presidents who placed more emphasis on a well-planned, organized, and executed campaign, who hired a consultant to assist in this effort, and who committed their time to fundraising campaigns appeared to have more success in funds raised per FTE than those who did not.
The technical colleges' foundations' characteristics appeared to mirror existing research in the areas of planning of the campaign and conducting a feasibility study that evaluated image, campaign cause and goals, and potential sources of contributions. Each campaign's execution required the president's commitment in time, effort, and presentation to the community and prospective donors. Findings from the study also indicated that successful presidents believed an important foundation characteristic is an active foundation board with members who are influential and recognized leaders.