A Case Study Of Alumni Donors At A Medium-Sized Community College In The Mid-Atlantic Region: Their Motivations And Experiences
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DepartmentCommunity College Leadership Program
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This study utilized single case study design to explore alumni giving at one medium-sized community college in the mid-Atlantic region. The purpose of this study was to assess the connection between the college and its alumni donors as it relates to the benefits of the educational experience (e.g., advantage, opportunity, and recognition) and alumni motivation to give to their community college. Mauss (1950/1990) and Brittingham and Pezzullo (1990) provided the theoretical framework of gift exchange theory, which suggests that a cyclical relationship would exist between alumni and the community college. The main research question that guided the study was: What can be learned about the experiences of alumni donors and giving at a medium-sized community college in the mid-Atlantic region from alumni donors? The supplemental questions for the study were as follows: How would the characteristics of alumni donors at a medium-sized community college in the mid-Atlantic be described?; How do alumni donors of a medium-sized community college in the mid-Atlantic region describe their college experience, current alumni involvement, and their motivation to give?; How do alumni donors at a medium-sized community college in the mid-Atlantic region describe feelings of obligation to give to their community college in exchange for what they received from their educational experience?; and How do development personnel at a medium-sized community college in the mid-Atlantic region describe alumni fundraising practices? Findings indicated the majority of study participants were white married women between the ages of 50-69 who made over $60,000 per year and lived near the college; the majority of study participants described their college experience as positive; the majority of study participants did not describe a sense of obligation to give to the college; and development personnel described their alumni fundraising practices as limited. Conclusions from the study suggest that there is potential for the institution to enhance its connection with alumni through greater cultivation and a specific focus on alumni outreach and involvement.