Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Fred J. Galloway, Ed.D.; Laura Deitrick, Ph.D.; Elliot Hirshman, Ph.D.


Blended Gifts, College Sports, Fundraising, Hybrid Gifts, Intercollegiate Athletics, Philanthropy


Over the past few decades, the money and attention associated with Intercollegiate Athletics (ICA) has exploded. At the same time, however, many ICA departments claim to be at a financial crossroads with coaching salaries and operational costs soaring upwards. Not surprisingly, ICA departments are responding by focusing on increasing their fundraising in innovative ways. Perhaps the most interesting of these is in the area of hybrid—or blended—giving, which combines cash with a deferred gift. While these gifts have the potential to help generate substantially more revenue for ICA, unfortunately there is limited empirical research surrounding them.

In an effort to broaden this research base, this study examined hybrid gifts in Division I ICA at both the macro and micro levels. Specifically, an explanatory sequential mixed methods design was used to assess the state of hybrid-gift development among all 346 Division I ICA departments. This was accomplished through an online survey of the senior development director at every Division I ICA department; the 33-question survey had a 64% response rate and employed demographic, Likert-style, and open-ended questions. Following this mapping of the current Division I ICA hybrid-gift landscape, two purposely selected comparative case studies of Division I ICA departments were undertaken to better explain the complexity of hybrid gifts by digging deeper into the nuances of ICA philanthropy and hybrid-gift development.

Analysis of the data indicates hybrid-gift development is trending upward with a number of unique and new opportunities. Findings centered on building a culture of philanthropy and strategic process that includes education, communication, and collaboration; identifying the trajectory of hybrid-gift donors; and the new opportunities that hybrid gifts create, such as both short- and long-term approaches, re-cultivation of donors, and elevated partnerships. Further analysis used the lens of behavioral economics, specifically, framing, anchoring, loss aversion, and what you see is all there is to enrich the findings.

Taken together, the study responds to a yawning gap in the literature on philanthropy. In particular, the study informs best practices for ICA development, leaders, and donors, and generates potentially transferable philanthropic insights into higher education and nonprofit philanthropy.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies