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

Muhammad Asif Khan*, Rohail Ashraf, Thamer Ahmad S. Baazeem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-692
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Higher Education
Issue number2
Early online date6 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

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