Lack of early engagement: a pre-eminent barrier to Australian university bequest giving?
International Journal of Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Marketing
Decreased government funding has placed increasing financial pressure on Australian universities. Currently Australian universities receive 6.6% of all donations to nonprofit organisations in Australia (Australian Council of Social Service, 2005) while universities in the United States attract 14% (Department for Education and Skills, 2004). These figures suggest there is considerable room for improvement for Australian universities. Efforts directed towards adding to knowledge of philanthropy
... o universities in Australia are, therefore, very topical at present. Despite acknowledged differences between the types of literature on gift-giving it predominately centres on the motivation to donate to nonprofit organisations during an individual's lifetime (in vivo giving) with less focus on bequests. This exploratory study sought to gain insight into barriers to Australian University bequests. Lack of alumni engagement in Australian Universities was identified as a primary bequest barrier. Barriers identified previously in the literature (e.g. communications quality, performance, insensitive marketing) were considered secondary barriers to bequests. The results suggest a long term strategy is needed for Australian Universities seeking to improve donations. Universities need to engage students from the start of their academic tenure in order to be considered for a bequest. This paper proposes a model which highlights the consequences of this lack of early engagement and identifies key points in the academic and post-academic process where successive challenges increasingly diverge the student from the university's bequest prospects.