Date of Award

Summer 2008

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration-Marketing

Committee Director

Edward Markowski

Committee Director

John Ford

Committee Member

Edward Markowski

Committee Member

Leona Tam

Committee Member

Adrian Sargeant


Charitable organizations in the U.S. have found it increasingly difficult to raise funds from donors. With a decline in the number of donors and with the number of charitable organizations increasing, there is a greater need than ever to engage the giver and encourage him/her to increase their giving to charitable organizations. NPOs (not-for-profit organizations) can facilitate this engagement through the identification of emotional constructs that can drive donor commitment to the NPO and increase charitable giving. In a recent study, Sargeant et al. (2006) have shown that charities which engage the giver emotionally are able to create stronger commitment from the giver. One such emotionally engaging construct is personal nostalgia. Personal nostalgia is a longing for a past which has been personally experienced by the individual. Personal nostalgia evokes warmth and joy arising out of remembering the past but there is also a sense of loss that the past is no more. The author has not found any study that has linked personal nostalgia to giving to charity. This research links personal nostalgia to charitable giving. From an academic standpoint it adds to the literature in the areas of personal nostalgia and not for profit marketing. From a Managerial standpoint, NPOs could benefit by identifying significant personal experiences of the donor and evoke personal nostalgia in their fundraising appeals. This research presents a theoretical model and ten research hypotheses. It shows that age, discontinuity, loneliness, past experiences and recovery from grief positively influence the donor's personal nostalgia. Personal nostalgia in turn provides emotional utility and familial utility to the donor. These in turn strengthen the commitment of the donor to the charitable organization which facilitates charitable giving. Data were collected from 502 U.S. charitable donors. Structural equation modeling was utilized and tests were carried out to ascertain the significance of the hypothesized relationships. The study found support for nine out of the ten hypothesized relationships. It is argued that this study would be relevant to those NPOs which can evoke personal nostalgia among their donors. Some examples would include alumni associations of academic institutions, hospitals, etc.


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