Alumni Giving and Social Exchange: A Study of Alumni Giving Behavior

Alumni Giving and Social Exchange: A Study of Alumni Giving Behavior

Lauren E. B. Dodge (University of Illinois, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9664-8.ch012
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Abstract

Fundraising efforts at institutions of higher education continue to be a top priority, especially as funding from state governments decline. Public institutions have been looking to private institutions, as they are believed to have been leading the way in cultivating alumni donations since their inception. Higher education institutions must understand what determines the greatest alumni giving if the field is to improve their fundraising efforts, and student and alumni engagement is a key indicator of philanthropic gifts. A survey was administered to gather important insight into the giving behavior of alumni of an engineering department at a large research university located in the Midwestern area of the United States. The purpose of this survey is to understand the correlation between alumni giving and engagement while a student and as alumni.
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Introduction

Fundraising efforts at institutions of higher education continue to be a top priority, especially as funding from state governments decline. Public institutions have been looking to private institutions, as they are believed to have been leading the way in cultivating alumni donations since their inception. Higher education institutions must understand what determines the greatest alumni giving if the field is to improve their fundraising efforts; student and alumni engagement is a key indicator of philanthropic gifts.

The purpose of this survey is to understand the correlation between alumni giving and engagement while a student and as alumni. The results of this survey will guide future efforts to cultivate alumni and students, and may further contribute to the body of literature on alumni giving and university advancement.

The results of this study will not be generalizable to all departments within higher education institutions or to all alumni of departments in higher education, but these results will provide an important insight into the giving behavior of alumni of an engineering department at a large research university located in the Midwestern area of the United States, and may be used to inform future fundraising policy and initiatives. The results of this study may also provide information to other small, sciences-based, undergraduate and graduate degree granting departments and institutions of higher education regarding alumni attitudes about giving and philanthropic behavior, and may encourage these other comparable departments to implement a similar study. Information on alumni philanthropic behavior is important for institutions of higher education to continue to implement successful fundraising policy and initiatives, and for professionals working in the field to better engage with prospective donors.

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