The effects of selected undergraduate student involvement and alumni characteristics on alumni gift-giving behavior at the University of Virginia

Steeper, Daniel W, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Wathington, Heather, Cu-Leadshp Fndns & Pol Studies, University of Virginia
Breneman, David, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Lampkin, Pat, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, University of Virginia
Moon, Tonya, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Public institutions of higher education are currently faced with revenue shortfalls caused primarily by decreasing levels of state support. In order to close these budget gaps, public institutions are increasingly turning to private fundraising activities.

Presently, alumni are the single largest provider of private support to institutions of higher education (Council for Aid to Education, 2006). As such, understanding the gift-giving behaviors of this population is important for the future success of institutional fundraising efforts. The purpose of this study is to understand the relationships among selected undergraduate and alumni characteristics and a set of alumni engagement and alumni giving outcomes (as defined by overall positive alumni attitudes, overall alumni involvement, donor status, donor level and donor frequency).

This quantitative study utilized a 24-item questionnaire to obtain self-reported data from a sample of University of Virginia alumni who graduated with solely baccalaureate degrees between 1940 and 2002. Data collected from the survey were analyzed with each graduate's financial giving record provided by the University of Virginia. Logistic or multiple regression analyses were performed on the five dependent variables noted above, with each producing statistically significant prediction models.

Results show positive alumni attitudes to be significantly predicted by the variables 'overall time of involvement in co/extra-curricular activities,' 'attending a meeting of a club or organization,' and 'met with faculty to discuss an activity.' Overall alumni involvement was significantly influenced by the variables 'participated in an off-grounds experience' and 'met with faculty to discuss an activity.'

Alumni gift-giving behaviors (i.e. status, level and frequency) were significantly predicted by the variables 'participation in undergraduate activities influenced decision to give,' 'maintaining contact with faculty/staff,' 'involvement in university events/activities,' 'alumni's perceptions that the institution needs financial support' and income related variables 'personal income,' 'combined household income,' and 'occupation.' Undergraduate involvement in student activities did not appear to have any significant affect on alumni giving.

Overall, results from the study suggest that institutional fundraising efforts should focus on enhancing the motivational aspects of the alumni gift-giving process (as opposed to capacity elements) and work to create collaborative partnerships between student affairs professionals, alumni relations staff and development officers.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
higher education, gift giving, alumni, funding shortfalls

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-02-18 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:33:43.

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