Motivations of Planned Gift Donors: a Qualitative Research Study

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University of Alabama Libraries

Planned giving is a critical source of funding for higher education institutions. Smaller institutions receive fewer of these gifts in comparison to larger research institutions of higher education. Higher education leaders have recognized these benefits and suggest that these gifts would create a substantial opportunity for changes in smaller institutions. According to the report on the 2019 Survey of College and University Presidents, three-quarters of surveyed college and university presidents expressed the belief that wealthy, elite institutions received a disproportionate amount of large philanthropic gifts, and that smaller, non-elite institutions would benefit more from gifts of this substantial size (Jaschik & Lederman 2019). In order to create opportunities for smaller institutions of higher education to receive more planned gifts, we need to further understand what motivates a planned gift donor.This qualitative study sought to understand the motivations of donors to invest in higher education through the philanthropic initiative of planned giving through interviews with 17 individuals. Using the social identity theory as my framework, I explored how the perception of connection to or membership in various organizations affected the behavior of deciding to give a planned gift to a small, non-elite institution of higher education. The six themes that emerged through data analysis were: membership through connection, meaningful personal experience, pay it forward, advancement of the college, duty, and recognition. Participants valued the traditions that are associated with smaller colleges. Additionally, participants were able to recall specific learning experiences in which they heard about planned giving

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
advancement, Higher education, Motivation, Philanthropy, planned giving