Chris George

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Nonprofit Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Schoeneman

Second Advisor

Dr. Abbi Haggerty


With the rapid expansion of the nonprofit sector, there is approximately 43 percent of nonprofits that are not surviving past five years of operation. As there are many misconceptions about start-up organizations, this may affect their growth and financial viability. A qualitative study was conducted to understand the perception of start-up nonprofit organizations and how that may influence funder giving behaviors. Interviews were administered with three funders of Greater Richmond area foundations and corporations. Five major themes were developed from the findings to include mission alignment, life cycle stages, perception, elimination of bias, and organizational barriers and common mistakes. Funder perceptions proved to be relevant, however not a major factor in funder decision-making. Data was analyzed to report findings, implications, and recommendations useful for start-up organizations as well as funding establishments.