Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Naveen Donthu

Second Advisor

Dr. Wesley J. Johnston

Third Advisor

Dr. Yi Zhao

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Ramakrishnan

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Timothy R. Bohling


Nonprofit organizations struggle to leverage digital marketing to achieve their primary goal of understanding and addressing the needs of their target audience to convert their prospects. Using action research, we conceptualize a strategic digital marketing framework that (a) enables digital marketing efforts to be designed and executed in alignment with organizational goals, (b) considers multiple customer touchpoints in the consumer decision-making process, and (c) accounts for the sequential “funnel” nature of the prospect conversion process. We implement this conversion funnel framework at two nonprofit organizations through two field studies and empirically investigate the impact of digital marketing interventions at each stage. In Study 1, we execute the conversion funnel framework to identify the impact of a nonprofit organization’s digital marketing efforts (i.e., specific messaging content, messaging media, and messaging targeting) on bringing prospective customers to their website and encouraging them to complete a purchase. In Study 2, we replicate and extend the framework at another nonprofit organization to investigate the impact of that organization’s marketing interventions (including emails and other contacts with prospects) on driving action. Collectively, the two studies enable us to examine the impact of digital marketing efforts on the stages of the conversion funnel: (a) creating awareness and interest, (b) establishing consideration, and (c) driving action. We find that impressions across various messaging media as well as cross-media synergies are critical to bring prospects to the organization’s landing page. We also find the importance of returning users on the organization’s landing page, in addition to messaging that emphasizes the organization’s parent brand in establishing consideration and encouraging prospects to move forward in the conversion funnel. The organization’s responsiveness to incoming queries, email communications, and other contacts are also important in driving action by prospects. We also demonstrate the success of the in-field implementation of the conversion funnel framework at the respective two nonprofit organizations.


File Upload Confirmation


Available for download on Thursday, July 13, 2023