Date of Conferral

1996

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Philip Chamberlain

Abstract

The problem under investigation. This dissertation analyzed philanthropic donations and fund-raising behavior in children's museums. The research embodies a descriptive, inductive, and deductive study which infers that philanthropic donations increase gradually and are influenced by an organization's fund-raising behavior.

The subjects. A stratified random sample of 15 small, 47 medium, and 20 large U.S. children's museums were surveyed; operating budgets determined museum size.

The methodology. Time-series statistical techniques and economic data measures calculated the change in children's museum philanthropic donations from 1990-1994. Correlation coefficients determined the relationships between the income variables. The fund-raising behavior variables, nominal data, were calculated in percentage/frequency tables. The chi-square test statistic checked for dependency between the behavioral variables and museum size.

The findings. This analysis showed the complex relationships between fund-raising systems and their philanthropic environment. The results demonstrate the strong tie between philanthropy and fund-raising. They illustrate that fund-raising cannot be an isolated management function. The data indicate how fund-raising behavior, donor attitudes, and economic conditions influence giving fluctuations. It discloses organizational donor preferences, and the control those donors might have over internal management decisions. The effects of donor networks, political lobbying, and geographic location were also detected in the figures.

Conclusions. This study affirmed that persistent organizational funding requires diversified, balanced relationships between nonprofit organizations and the philanthropic sector. Children's museums need a fund-raising philosophy; voluntary giving must become a core institutional value. This philosophy must be espoused by the Chief Executive Officer who works with and through a Board President and Board of Directors who embrace the same fund-raising rationale. The organizations also need trained personnel to administer the philosophy.