Toward a Better Understanding of College Athletic Donors: What Are the Primary Motives?

James M. Gladden
Daniel F. Mahoney
Artemisia Apostolopoulou

The purpose of the current paper is to help improve our understanding of why people donate money to athletic support groups, which motivations are most prevalent among donors, and how motivations differ across three schools. Four thousand one hundred and thirty-seven responses (from 1,579 athletic support group donors at three universities) to an open-ended question about donor motivation were content analyzed. Results suggest that primary motives include supporting and improving the athletic program, receiving tickets, helping student-athletes, deriving entertainment and enjoyment, supporting and promoting the university (non-athletic programs), receiving membership benefits, repaying past benefits received, helping and enhancing the community, and psychological commitment. Comparisons to past research efforts (and comparisons among the three schools) are discussed and directions for future research are offered.