Abstract

Abstract:

The purpose of this case study was to describe the experiences of Theodore University (a pseudonym for a Midwest university) student-athlete alumni in their deciding whether to give philanthropically. A qualitative approach was used to gauge the propensity and intrinsic desires of these alumni to either give, or not give, monetary support to Theodore. Data analysis included values coding that highlighted and identified how the participants experienced the phenomenon of philanthropy. This study was designed around social exchange theory and the assumption that a series of interactions generate obligations to give monetary donations. Findings from this study included: participants who had a closer connection to the university and had been approached for a specific request to support Theodore were more likely to give, give more frequently, and give larger amounts; financial donations to Theodore were much less compared to other nonprofit organizations; participants who had strong motivations to give also felt a strong connection to their team, a coach, a faculty member, academic department, or athletic department. This study fills a gap in the recent scholarly literature about the psychology and altruism of philanthropic support of student-athlete alumni to their alma mater.

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