Aligning donor and organisational interests: An analysis of college athletics fundraising officers

Matt R. Huml, Christopher M. McLeod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Agency theory and stewardship theory are both widely accepted within the corporate governance literature but it is unclear whether these theories are compatible or competing explanations of principal-agent relationships. This study used an inductive approach to integrate agency theory and stewardship theory in the context of non-profit sport organizations. Drawing on interviews with gift officers for athletic departments and employing a Gioia methodology for analysis, this article asks: How do athletic foundations reconcile their priorities with financers’ interests when creating gift-financed projects? Findings show seven scenarios where athletic department priorities are reconciled with donor interests, ranging from scenarios where athletic department priorities prevail over donor interests to scenarios where donor interests come first. The ideal scenario, a cultivated donor base, is a special case and the only situation described by a perfect stewardship relationship. This article contributes a continuum model that blends agency theory and stewardship theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-171
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Management and Marketing
Volume21
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Agency theory
  • College athletics
  • Donors
  • Fundraising
  • Stewardship theory

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