Center for Social Research

Fundraising by Christian colleges during the recession


The journal Christian Higher Education has published an article (click for abstract and full text) based on survey data collected by CSR and co-authored by Neil Carlson:

    Janel Curry, Scott Rodin & Neil Carlson (2012): Fundraising In Difficult Economic Times: Best Practices, Christian Higher Education, 11:4, 241-252

Janel Curry is the newly-appointed Provost of Gordon College and conducted this research in her role as the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Christian Perspectives on Political, Social and Economic Thought. Scott Rodin is currently partner for strategic alliances at Artios Partners. At the time of writing, both Curry and Rodin were associated with the not-for-profit practice of the One Accord consulting group.

As summarized in the article abstract, “Our research suggests that macroeconomic conditions, the number of development staff, and the size of development budget do not predict [fundraising] performance. Performance is related to a transformational approach to development work built on a compelling vision that is communicated clearly.”


Posted by Neil Carlson on Monday, July 30, 2012 at 10:45 AM
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Welcome New Hires!

    We’re looking forward to working with five new student research assistants who will work full time this summer, then continue part time with CSR when the fall semester begins.

  • Melissa Lubbers, a senior Psychology major, interned with us during the spring and now joins the research assistant team.

  • Leah Hoogstra, a senior with a double major in Mathematics and International Development, started working with us during second semester.

  • Shawntavia Stewart is a sophomore and in a pre-med program with concentrations in Public Health and Bio-Chemistry.

  • Michael Kelly will be a junior this fall and is studying Psychology.

  • Lauren Muñoz’s major is Sociology, and she’ll be a junior this fall.

    We appreciate the wide skill set (and the phenomenal personalities) this new group brings to CSR.

Posted by Kathryn A. Bardolph on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 03:30 PM
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Summer training open to Calvin and select clients

CSR has welcomed our new staff and student team and begun a summer-long training program. We'll be working with our team almost every Friday from 8:30 to 12:00, and Calvin faculty and staff and some of our off-campus clients are invited to ride along if you're interested.

The schedule is subject to change, but here are the topics we're going to cover:

DateWeek #TopicRoom
Friday 5/251Orientation - internal onlyDeVos 110
Friday 6/12Microsoft Word and print survey reformattingDeVos 110
Friday 6/83Inquisite Survey SoftwareDeVos 110
Friday 6/224Databases 101 and Microsoft ExcelHekman 122
Friday 6/295Microsoft AccessHekman 122
Friday 7/66Intuit QuickBaseHekman 122
Friday 7/207Qualitative Data/ResearchDeVos 110
Friday 7/278Tableau IDeVos 110
Friday 8/39Tableau IIDeVos 110
Friday 8/1710ArcGISDeVos 110
Friday 8/3111Stata/SPSSDeVos 110

Contact us by email if you're interested and we'll send you a file that will help you to register for specific weeks.

Posted by Neil Carlson on Friday, May 25, 2012 at 01:44 PM
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Departing CSR Graduates

It’s never easy to say goodbye to our departing staff and students, but the end of the academic year brings its usual season of change to CSR. Several students and a staff member are moving on to grad school or full-time jobs.

• Nathan Mosurinjohn (Graduate Research Specialist) – After graduating from Calvin College in 2009 with a B.A. in Geography and International Development, Nathan joined the staff at CSR as a Research Specialist. At the end of summer, Nathan and his wife Shelly will head to the west coast while Nathan pursues his Masters of Science in Geography at the University of Oregon.

• Kelsey McCallops (Student Research Assistant) – Kelsey’s been with CSR since her sophomore year. She is leaving us with a B.A. in Psychology and is landing at Ohio University where she will enter a Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. Kelsey begins her studies at OU as a Graduate Assistant.

• Tony Ditta (Student Research Assistant) – Tony has also been working at the CSR since his sophomore year. He graduates with a B.A. in Economics and is moving to Chicago for a research position at the University of Chicago.

• Traci Montgomery (Student Research Assistant) – Traci will be graduating from Calvin with a B.S. in Mathematics and Geography, after which she will transition into a full time staff position at the CSR as a Graduate Research Assistant. Traci’s summer includes a six week break to attend a summer program on sustainable development at UC Berkeley.

• Kristen Napp (Student Research Assistant) – Kristen worked for CSR this past year, and after graduating with a BSW, she joins us full time on staff as a Graduate Research Assistant.

• Mitchell Uitvlugt (Psychology intern) – Mitchell interned with us from the psychology department this past semester. He will be starting a research assistant position in the Laboratory for Cognitive & Decision Sciences as well as in the Cognitive Control Neurolab, both at Michigan State University.

Thanks to all of you for your great work at the Center for Social Research during your tenure with us. You’ve been an integral part of our team and we will miss you. We wish all of our departing staff and students the best in their new endeavors! Don’t forget to stay in touch with us.

Posted by Kathryn A. Bardolph on Wednesday, May 09, 2012 at 01:46 PM
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New publication on data sharing for Believe 2 Become

CSR’s ongoing, long-term work with the Believe 2 Become Initiative is beginning to bear fruit. A collaborative article, for which I served as the lead author, has just been published in The Foundation Review, “the nation’s first peer-reviewed journal of philanthropy”:

The article documents the coalition’s successful efforts to come to agreement on the complex issue of sharing student data in a secure, responsible fashion to support better personal service to students by program staff, greater alignment of out-of-school educational services with in-school curriculum, and more robust evaluation of overall program results in improving educational outcomes. The agreement facilitates transmission of data between the Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) and the Community Research Institute (CRI) at Grand Valley State University (GVSU).

With parental consent, identified student information such as attendance and recent academic performance is (or will be) available on a secure, need-to-know basis for staff at B2B out-of-school programs through nFocus Solutions’ TraxSolutions suite. Meanwhile deidentified data for larger populations of B2B participants and comparison groups is available to the research and evaluation team (including CSR, CRI and Basis Policy Research) .

While similar agreements have been made in other cities and school districts, they have generally been short term, less comprehensive, or have dealt only with aggregate data rather than tracking individual educational results over time. At CSR, we are privileged to be involved and excited about the potential this data-sharing infrastructure offers to Grand Rapids and to other metropolitan partnerships. As we learned at a recent Intelligence for Social Policy conference, interest and investment in data sharing agreements is soaring across the country. Grand Rapids is keeping pace and may even be moving ahead of the pack.

Posted by Neil Carlson on Sunday, January 08, 2012 at 01:59 AM
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