Date of Award


Degree Name

Leadership Studies


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Eugenia Lambert, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Bobbi Nicholson

Third Advisor

Mr. Joseph Allwood


Turnover of major gift officers (MGOs) within university foundations has been a problem for foundations and their affiliated universities. Turnover of MGOs results in less fundraised dollars, fewer donor-fundraiser relationships, and higher incomings costs. Retention of MGOs is vital for foundations’ success and directly correlates to the overall prosperity of the respective university. The purpose of this descriptive, non-experimental study that utilized a cross-sectional survey design was to examine perceptions of currently employed MGOs, in the interest of determining what was important to them to remain employed at their nonprofit university foundation. Using a web-based survey, data showed MGOs need to feel appreciated and valued within their foundations. They were in pursuit of more responsibility over the fundraising strategies and their longevity in their position was dependent on their work culture. Data also found older MGOs are mostly intrinsically motivated, less motivated by compensation, and most likely to stay employed. The perceptions of work culture, perceived value, and workplace environment provided by the currently employed MGOs may provide a better understanding for employers to retain MGOs.


Education, Higher – Administration.

Educational leadership – Research – United States.

Educational leadership – Funds and scholarships.

Marshall University.

Appalachian State University.

Cleveland State University.

Columbus State University.

Ohio University.

Ohio State University.

West Virginia University – Foundation.