Timothy L. Seiler, Ph.D., CFRE, has been named the inaugural Rosso Fellow in Philanthropic Fundraising at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Founding Dean Gene Tempel announced today.
“Tim Seiler is an internationally acclaimed leader and expert in philanthropy and fundraising, and is one of the most highly respected fundraising professionals and teachers in the world today,” Tempel said. “The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, The Fund Raising School and indeed the fundraising profession and philanthropic sector are fortunate that Tim has devoted his life to philanthropy and above all to the people whose lives it changes for the better.”
As the Rosso Fellow and Clinical Professor of Philanthropic Studies, Seiler will teach for-credit classes as a member of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s academic faculty and will continue to teach courses for The Fund Raising School as a lead faculty member. He will focus on spanning the boundary between academic knowledge of fundraising and philanthropy and the world of practice, fostering interaction between practitioners and scholars. In addition to teaching and training, Seiler will create professional development and reflection opportunities for senior fundraisers and join Tempel and Glenn Family Chair in Philanthropy Dwight Burlingame in co-editing Rosso’s seminal handbook, Achieving Excellence in Fundraising, Fourth Edition.
“Hank Rosso, the giant of teaching philanthropic fundraising, was my mentor and friend, and I am tremendously honored to be selected for this role that bears his name,” Seiler said. “Hank believed firmly that fundraising should be grounded in academic knowledge and research. He often said that fundraising is ‘teaching the gentle art of the joy of giving.’ I look forward to sharing that joy with current and future fundraisers and students and to helping them become even more knowledgeable and effective.”
Seiler currently is director of The Fund Raising School at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, a position he has held since 1994, and he has been a faculty member for The Fund Raising School since 1986. An alumnus of both Indiana University and The Fund Raising School, he has led the development of the latter for the past 20 years, more than half of its history. Seiler also played an important role in the establishment of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and its precursor, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
During Seiler’s tenure as director he led creation of the Certificate in Fund Raising Management and gave professionals, volunteers and organizations around the world access to training in ethical, effective fundraising by creating online versions of The Fund Raising School’s courses. He has developed many additional regularly scheduled courses on a variety of topics, including women’s philanthropy and the use of social media in fundraising, and he co-created the course on faith and fundraising.
Under Seiler’s leadership, demand for customized courses tailored to a particular nonprofit or community’s needs has increased dramatically. During that period, The Fund Raising School has provided training for major national and international organizations such as United Way Worldwide, Girl Scouts of the USA, Make-a-Wish Foundation of America, YMCA of the USA, Fundraising Managers of Austria, Bogazici University in Istanbul and Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Development, among others. Now in its 40th year, The Fund Raising School has taught in more than 40 countries and has a global network of more than 40,000 alumni.
Seiler’s appointment as the Rosso Fellow is effective January 1, 2015. A search and screen committee is being formed to identify the best candidate to serve as the next director of The Fund Raising School.
Formerly vice president of the Indiana University Foundation, Seiler also was a major gifts officer for university development. As director of the foundation’s Indianapolis office, he coordinated the constituency development program for the schools and programs on the Indianapolis campus. He led the Campaign for Indiana in Indianapolis, the comprehensive fundraising program for the Indianapolis campus, which raised more than double the fundraising goal. With his leadership as vice president of the IU Foundation and director of the Indianapolis office, giving increased by 25 percent and the number of donors increased by 17 percent.
Seiler is a highly sought-after speaker for conferences and seminars nationally and internationally. He is an author and editor of fundraising publications and was editor-in-chief of the Excellence in Fundraising Workbook Series, author of the workbook Developing Your Case for Support, and co-editor of Achieving Excellence in Fundraising, Third Edition. He also currently teaches in the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s graduate program in Philanthropic Studies and has been voted outstanding part-time graduate instructor.
Deeply committed to philanthropy and making a meaningful difference in society, Seiler also serves the nonprofit sector as a board member and campaign committee member for several nonprofits and serves as a mentor to young professional fundraisers.
Seiler earned a B.A. degree in English from Saint Joseph’s College, Rensselaer, Indiana, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English from Indiana University. He also holds the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) professional designation and is a long-time member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
“There’s great joy in teaching and in learning,” Seiler said. “This new role provides even more opportunities to bring together the study and the practice of fundraising and to understand more deeply the ‘why’ of what works in philanthropic fundraising. It also gives me the chance to continue to emulate Chaucer’s Oxford Cleric: ‘gladly would he learn, and gladly teach.’”
“I believe Hank Rosso would have been as pleased as I am to see Tim serve in this prestigious new position, helping professional fundraisers strengthen their knowledge and skills and advancing the importance of professional, ethical philanthropic fundraising,” Tempel said. “I know his colleagues around the world and The Fund Raising School’s alumni join me in congratulating Tim and wishing him well in this exciting new role.”
About the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its academic, research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. Follow us on Twitter @IUPhilanthropy or “Like” us on Facebook.