Preferred Name

Aaron Noland

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Strategic Leadership Studies


Karen A. Ford

Margaret F. Sloan

Corey Hickerson


Social media has evolved as a space for connection, advocacy, and commerce in recent years. Nonprofit organizations have been called to engage stakeholders on the Internet generally, and social media specifically as the pervasiveness of online presence has increased. In addition, nonprofit organizations have struggled to sustain engagement with the millennial population over the same time. Millennials have been termed digital natives and use social media proficiently. The convergence of these two mandates for nonprofit organizations – to engage via social media and to engage millennials – represents the importance of this study. To begin to help nonprofit organizations develop this strategy this study seeks to answer the question: why do millennials engage in online activism via social media? To predict these online activism behaviors, this research tests six competing models of The Theory of Planned Behavior using a structural equation modeling approach. The results suggest these models, particularly by adding self-efficacy, may help nonprofit organizations develop an effective social media strategy targeting millennial stakeholders.



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