Motivations, bilateral relationships, and one million dollar contributors: A case study of a Southwestern university.
AuthorReilly, Thomas Joseph.
Committee ChairLeslie, Larry
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to identify the relative importance of theoretically constructed variables upon the giving behaviors of the $1 million contributors to a Southwestern Research I University and upon donor/recipient relationships. The results were intended to expand the overall knowledge about donors and to improve the fund-raising strategies of higher education institutions. In the utility maximization framework of this study, four giving submodels (motivations) and three bilateral submodels (two-way transactions) were constructed. Two research questions were developed in accordance with the theoretical framework. The study utilized an interview process to gain information from those donors contributing a minimum of $1 million (lifetime gifts, pledges, and commitments) to a Research I University in the Southwestern United States. Thirty interviews (seventeen individuals, eight corporations, and five family foundations) were conducted by telephone or in person over a five-month period. Unstructured questions were utilized to initiate and to summarize the seven sections of the guide. The sections were arranged to follow what was thought to be the typical gift process. Structured questions were used secondarily to elicit elaborations of the initial interview responses and to explore topics not discussed by the interviewee. A fourteen-item questionnaire based upon the seven theoretical submodels was administered after each interview. Donors were asked to indicate on a Likert scale the relative importance of each question in their decision to give a substantial gift to the University. In the qualitative assessment, the responses were coded and analyzed utilizing the seven submodels developed in the framework. In the quantitative assessment, the questionnaire scores were utilized to calculate the means and standard deviations for each submodel. The findings were organized in accordance with the seven submodels. Among the four giving submodels, altruism was clearly the primary motivation for giving, followed by profit maximization, reciprocity, and direct benefit. Among the three bilateral submodels, donor involvement and foreground activities were clearly most important to donors, followed by background activities. This research should lead to a more complete explanation of donor/recipient behavior.
Degree ProgramHigher Education