A Guide to Fundraising at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: An All Campus Approach by Marybeth Gasman and Nelson Bowman III is a comprehensive overview of how historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) can transform their fundraising. As leading authorities on HBCUs, Gasman and Bowman closely examine the unique roles that the school president, board, faculty, alumni, and student body have in capacity building.

The guide draws on interviews with private sector experts and successful HBCU fundraisers to provide effective development strategies. For example, the chapter on “Telling a Better Story” reinforces the importance of continually engaging alumni through narrative, capitalizing on a university’s rich history, and being an effective storyteller within (and beyond) the African American community.

Practical recommendations from the “Telling a Better Story” include:

  • Share your story. Make sure that all of the good ideas, programs, and aspects of your institutions are shared with the outside world. You don’t want to be a secret.
  • Share your successes. Share your institutional success with funders and the media on a regular basis.
  • The president's voice matters. Presidents need to speak out regularly on local and national issues, making a connection to the institution.
  • Be social. Don’t underestimate the power of social media and social networks. Those who do are quickly left behind.

Each chapter concludes with a helpful list of suggestions to propel board members, college leadership, and development staff to collaborate and consider new elements of fundraising. 

Higher education is rapidly changing and schools urgently need to embrace new techniques in fundraising, according to the authors. With grant information and extensive appendices on HBCUs, this book is a solid resource for revitalizing these historic institutions. It also offers important insight into rethinking capacity building within the larger education community.


A Guide to Fundraising at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: An All Campus Approach by Marybeth Gasman and Nelson Bowman III (Routledge, 2011, 200 pp., $40).

For more information on fundraising and development, please visit the In Trust archive. People associated with In Trust Center member schools have access to the complete archive. 

To speak with an In Trust Center Resource Consultant about fundraising or any other topic, please contact us at 302-654-7770 or resources@intrust.org.