Date of Award

Summer 2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

School of Strategic Leadership Studies

Advisor(s)

T. Dary Erwin

Margaret F. Sloan

Herb Amato

Abstract

Postsecondary education institutions only have a limited amount of time and resources to direct at acquiring new donors for private funding and support. More research is needed to better understand why an individual chooses to give, and to utilize that understanding to create an improved, more informed practice of donor acquisition. By using the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), student engagement and alumni activity are explored as possible determinants in predicting donors. Further testing of this predictive model via utilizing a telefund calling center to solicit individuals allows for testing of differential scripts when speaking with alumni. This study expands on previous research regarding student engagement, alumni activities, and acquisition tactics. Findings include support for using differential scripts based on student engagement and alumni activity when soliciting potential donors. Also, support for increased alumni activity leading to a greater number of responses to phone calls was found as well. While this study did focus on young alumni who graduated ten years and fewer, at only one institution, the study could be replicated at any institution with previous participation in the NSSE. This study provides an initial foundation and support for the need to further study the long term effects of student engagement within alumni fundraising and support.

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