Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Delores E. McNair

First Committee Member

Christina Rusk

Second Committee Member

Jacalyn Griffen


Because philanthropic support from alumni and their families is an important source of revenue for American colleges and universities, identifying ways to connect with Chinese students and cultivate philanthropic support from their parents is an essential component of fundraising efforts. In this study, I explored how American university advancement officers could employ guanxi to cultivate relationships with Chinese parent donors in order to increase U.S. higher education philanthropy efforts. The concept of guanxi, an important aspect of building and sustaining relationships in China, served as the focus for understanding Chinese parents’ connections with their children’s American universities. I employed a qualitative collective case study design using purposeful criterion sampling and conducted research with seven participants. The research findings inform the practice of American university fundraising. The researcher generated specific strategies for American university development officers to build and cultivate guanxi with Chinese parents in order to receive more donations from them. Recommendations for further research are also provided.