USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)


Celia Hagerman

First Advisor

Thesis Director: Dr. Karin Braunsberger, Ph.D. Professor of Entrepreneurship, Muma College of Business

Second Advisor

Thesis Committee Member: Dr. Edward Hoeppner Instructor of Marketing, Muma College of Business

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued



Nonprofit organizations are faced with the need to evaluate their current business model, in order to survive and even flourish in the future. Nonprofits are impacted by a number of external forces that are currently undergoing systematic changes and will therefore have a strong impact on the effectiveness of these types of organizations. The state of the economy, the reach of globalization, changes in population demographics and socio-cultural changes in traditional giving, are some of those external forces that have an extreme impact for nonprofit organizations.

Most nonprofits are financed mainly by a donor base that provides stable and continuous income to support the role of these organizations in our communities. Therefore, maintaining and growing relationships with donors is a primary necessity for nonprofits. All donors have certain expectations when they support financially an organization, and the nonprofit’s development department is in charge of meeting and surpassing such expectations. This is extremely important if an organization is to maintain its current supporters, look for new donors and be efficient raising necessary funds. Therefore, this is fundamental for a nonprofit that aims to be effective, survive and thrive.

This research paper will examine the stated external forces and their impacts on nonprofits as well as at how effective nonprofits are in growing and serving society by fulfilling their mission, thanks to their increase in fundraising effectiveness.

Research in three different areas are the basis of academic support for this thesis: First, a study and definition of organizational effectiveness as it relates to nonprofit management. Next, a summary of fundraising best practices and data regarding trends of giving in the United States. Third, an overview of projected demographic changes in the country, and the need for nonprofits to embrace necessary change to adapt to such changes.

The methodology used for this research focuses on a literature review with the goal to analyze and appraise theoretical and empirical findings of numerous academic and professional published papers, articles and books as well as public data from reliable sources that create a good overview of the external forces that impact the third sector (i.e. the nonprofit sector), and the need for organizations to adapt and improve their business model by increasing their outreach to diverse communities.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Honors Program University of South Florida, St. Petersburg May 4, 2020.