Characteristics of alumni donors who volunteer at their alma mater

David J. Weerts, Justin M. Ronca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


In the competitive marketplace of higher education, colleges and university leaders increasingly rely on the influence and service of their alumni to further institutional goals. Because of their demonstrated financial commitment to the institution, alumni donors are often enlisted to serve important roles as volunteers and political advocates. Using binomial logistic regression, this study examines a large sample of alumni donors from a large doctoral/research extensive university to predict donors who are most likely volunteer at the institution (via advisory board service, political advocacy, alumni club support). The study suggests that volunteering among alumni donors is predicted by capacity variables related to gender, residence, and overall civic engagement. Inclination to volunteer is associated with the quality of academic experience while an undergraduate student, beliefs about alumni volunteer roles, and number of degrees earned at the institution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-292
Number of pages19
JournalResearch in Higher Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ACENG: “Academic Engagement”. Composite variable calculating the level of academic engagement experienced as an undergraduate--interaction with individual faculty and staff, exposure to diverse points of view, intellectual rigor of their academic programs. SOCENG: “Social Engagement”. Composite variable calculating the level of social engagement experienced as an undergraduate— participation in academic, professional, or social organizations. RESIDENCE: “Primary Academic Year Residence”. 1= alumnus lived primarily on-campus while an undergraduate, 0= alumnus lived primarily off-campus. FINRATIO: “Ratio of Financial Burden.” Ratio of the student’s financial burden in financing his/her education compared to the burden borne by “others.” Personal burden: the extent to which alumnus funded own education through employment and student loans. Nonpersonal burden: extent to which the alumnus’ education was financed by scholarships, grants, and support from family members EXTRELEFF: “External Relations Effort”. Whether alumnus had been solicited for gifts or volunteer support by REU. 1= alumnus had been solicited 0= no solicitation ALUMATT: “Alumni Attitudes” Respondents were asked to indicate their level of agreement with the following statement: “Alumni should support their alma mater through volunteer service.” 5-point likert scale: value of 1 = “Strongly Disagree.” Value of 5= “Strongly Agree”.

Funding Information:
SUPPORT: “Donor-Volunteerism” is our dependent variable. It is an indicator variable that takes on a value of 1 if the alumnus supports the institution financially and through volunteer time. The value is 0 if the alumnus supports the institution only through financial support.


  • Alumni
  • Institutional advancement
  • Volunteers


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