Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

John Mueller

Second Advisor

Laurel Ofstein

Third Advisor

Lara Hobson


When I transferred to WMU in 2014, I was admitted into the Starting Gate incubator with my business idea, For the FuNd$ of It. We started off as the ‘one-stop shop’ for creating successful fundraising events, and now we specialize in ‘making fundraising fun and easy’, specifically for schools and non-profits. While this is a vague description, for my thesis, I chose to work on For the FuNd$ of It to test my business assumptions.

I set out to develop my minimal viable product (MVP), create a more elaborate business model canvas, and create a pitch deck. In order to complete these deliverables, I had quite a bit of research to do. I began calling and emailing schools to gain some knowledge on the topic. Through trial and error and different seasons, I finally found the best way to contact this group and I was able to have many in-depth interviews. The interviews allowed me to ask potential clients the challenges they have with fundraising, in which I was able to tweak my business model accordingly to fit their wants and needs. Ideally, I will create a product up to their standards so they will buy my services someday.

Through the process, I have gained so much insight. I now understand how to talk to different groups and how to further my research. I have discovered that lower income demographic schools with a lack of parent teacher organizations are my target market. It is very challenging to create a website when one does not have training, and it is also very difficult to expand a business without any help. I have found that I need to hire a web-developer or take on a tech-savvy business partner, as well as find an individual who is good with people and would enjoy coordinating events.

By going out in the world and testing my business assumptions, I was able to learn the importance of researching before launching a business, how beneficial others can be in growing a business, as well as how to push past my personal limits. I am grateful that the Lee Honors College has given me the wonderful opportunity to do a thesis on For the FuNd$ of It, and I believe this experience will only help me be successful in the future.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Josie Marshall Thesis Defense .pdf (5965 kB)
Thesis Presentation