Beyond giving: Political advocacy and volunteer behaviors of public university alumni

David J Weerts, Alberto F. Cabrera, Thomas Sanford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


College and university leaders have paid an enormous level of attention to one domain of alumni involvement: charitable giving. In light of the decline of state support for higher education and the shrinking ability of families to pay for college, such emphasis is understandable. However, this emphasis has blinded scholars and practitioners to understanding the important non-monetary support roles played by college alumni. Drawing on data from a research extensive university, this study employs a sequential mixed method design (focus groups and confirmatory factor analysis) to demonstrate that non-monetary support behaviors are best understood through the distinct, but interrelated domains of political advocacy and volunteerism. Political advocacy behaviors include contacting legislators, the governor's office, local politicians and serving on a political action team, while volunteer behaviors include mentoring new alumni, recruiting students, and participating in special events. The study breaks ground for future research on alumni support for higher education, including strategies to recruit alumni volunteers and advocates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-365
Number of pages20
JournalResearch in Higher Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


  • Advocacy
  • Alumni
  • Confirmatory factor analysis
  • Lobbying
  • Philanthropy
  • Volunteerism

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