The Challenge of Fundraising: The Correlating Relationship Between Resource Dependence, Decision Making, and Organizational Performance

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The challenge of fundraising to supplement an organizational mission is present across the vast majority of all nonprofits. As most nonprofits are bound by the obligation to secure funding to fulfill their purpose, involuntary resource dependencies evolve. This qualitative research investigated the challenge of nonprofit fundraising through an analysis of the correlation between resource dependence, professional fundraiser decision making, and organizational performance through the theoretical lens of the resource dependence theory, the transaction cost theory, and the population ecology theory with a primary focus on the main research question: “How do nonprofit resource dependencies affect fundraiser behavior with respect to organizational performance?” This study supplies a historical context of how nonprofits formally developed and why the challenge of fundraising came to be. Through the implementation of a triangulated data collection methodology, this phenomenological study argues that resource dependencies of nonprofit organizations influence fundraiser behavior, which then positively and negatively affects the organization’s financial stability. Using higher education nonprofit institutions located in Southern California for the sample data collected through semistructured interviews, the conclusion is made that the organizational structure of the sampled institutions most heavily influences the ability of the nonprofit institution to remain financially stable while seeking heightened donor contributions. The recommendation is made to employ a diversified revenue approach at the organizational level in conjunction with an individualized fundraising approach.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Business Administration
Business administration, Organizational theory