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A cross-national investigation of psychological factors of donor behavior: the case of university endowment funds

Muhammad Asif Khan (Marketing Department, College of Business, King Abdulaziz University, Rabigh, Saudi Arabia)
Rohail Ashraf (Marketing Department, College of Business, King Abdulaziz University, Rabigh, Saudi Arabia)
Thamer Ahmad S. Baazeem (Marketing Department, College of Business, King Abdulaziz University, Rabigh, Saudi Arabia)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 6 April 2021

Abstract

Purpose

State funding is being reduced for higher education institutes (HEIs) is linked to several checks such as performance-based incentives (Hagood, 2019). This forces HEIs to look for other options for funding. Endowment funds are now becoming the main source of revenue for HEIs (Sörlin, 2007), largely provided by alumni. Thus, this study aims to examine the factors that lead to donor behavior in terms of university endowment funds.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a sample of 627 participants in the survey from public universities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and 625 from public/private universities of the United States of America (USA), the authors conducted a cross-sectional survey-based analysis. Hypotheses were tested with regression analysis.

Findings

The results revealed that in the USA, donors with substantial prestige within the institution are more likely to contribute to the endowment fund; however, in the KSA, this relationship was insignificant. Additionally, this study found that participation, brand interpretation and satisfaction positively impact identification with an organization, leading to donor behavior.

Research limitations/implications

This research has successfully identified psychological factors for endowment funding; however, mediating or moderating variables affecting donor behavior should also be considered. Further, this study considers only two countries, the KSA and the USA; therefore, a larger cross-cultural context warrants more investigation.

Practical implications

Overall results revealed several means through which the administrators and practitioners may efficiently manage and increase university endowment funds flow. This study's novelty is to conduct a cross-national investigation and identify the psychological factors of donation behavior toward university endowment funds, providing an opportunity for HEIs to understand the psychological factors in detail and motivate their alumni to be one of the important sources of funding even in developing countries.

Originality/value

Many psychological factors underlie alumni's engagement in volunteerism and donation activities, especially in cross-national settings. Following social identity theory, this study explored identity-based donor behavior in terms of supporting universities through endowment funding.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This project was funded by the Deanship of Scientific Research (DSR) at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, under grant no. G: 605-849-1439. The authors, therefore, acknowledge with thanks to the DSR for technical and financial support.

Statement of conflict of interest: there is no conflict of interest among coauthors.

Citation

Khan, M.A., Ashraf, R. and Baazeem, T.A.S. (2021), "A cross-national investigation of psychological factors of donor behavior: the case of university endowment funds", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-11-2020-0393

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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