Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Susan C. Bon


Development officers and those who research philanthropic giving frequently explore the factors that motivate donors to give or the demographic variables that enable donating behavior to occur, less often is the concept of identity used as a mediating variable in the study of philanthropic giving. Using the Identity Salience Model of Nonprofit Relationship Marketing Success proposed by Arnett, German, and Hunt (2003) as a theoretical framework, this dissertation explores the understudied giving behaviors of alumni of graduate degree programs at a large, southeastern, Carnegie classified highest research activity, doctoral institution. Using the survey responses from and institutional data for 707 graduate program alumni, the study seeks to determine if identity salience relates positively to donating to the university, relates positively to promoting the university and whether these relationships exist at the same levels for those who hold only a graduate degree as it does for those who hold both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the same institution. The study revealed that identity salience was not an indicator of donating behavior for this population, that identity salience was a predictor of promoting behavior, and that those with undergraduate and graduate degrees from the same institution did not demonstrate higher levels of identity salience, donating or promoting behavior than their peers with only a graduate degree.