Publication Date

Spring 5-5-2022

Document Type


First Advisor

Schatteman, Alicia

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)


Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies


Alumni gifts are becoming an important aspect of higher education funding due to decreasing state support. These gifts accommodate about 28 percent, or about $6.8 billion, of support to institutions of higher education (Marr et. al., 2005; Stephenson and Bell, 2014; Sung and Yang, 2009; Weerts et. al. 2010; Drezner and Pizmony-Levy, 2021; and McNamee III, 2021). There are many different aspects of the alumni and student experience that shapes the likelihood of giving behaviors and other forms of engagement including financial capacity, satisfying student experience, age, gender, race, participation in student organizations and Greek life, affirming campus climate, involvement in athletics, major, volunteerism post-graduation, event attendance, and organizational and personal identification (Fleming, 2019; Drezner and Pizmony-Levy, 2021; Garvey and Drezner, 2019; Garvey, 2016). This study uses quantitative data analysis methods to analyze archival data about NIU alumni giving behaviors, demographics, and touchpoints, which encompass how student and alumni experiences and characteristics lead to gifts within ten years of graduation. The data set includes 275,173 alumni records, and includes data about constituent type, age, double Huskie, ethnicity, gender, degree amount, number of gifts, fraternity and sorority participation, student athlete participation, employment status, events participation, volunteer activity, travel program participation, student organization participation, Founders Forum membership, and Leadership Society membership. In looking at the research question, “what experiences and characteristics do “gold” NIU alumni have that encourages university engagement and giving?”, this study found that volunteer counts, event counts, travel program participation, student organization participation, sorority / fraternity participation, gender, and ethnicity have significant relationships with gift counts. While these all have significant relationships, the NIU Foundation needs to collect more comprehensive data to better form affinity and interest groups for more targeted cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship efforts.