CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Dr. Paul Spiers

Committee Member

Dr. Steven Terrell

Committee Member

Dr. Marlyn Littman

Abstract

Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) provide vital services to the communities they serve. These organizations are funded primarily by individual contributions from supporters. Academic researchers and practitioners have examined donor behavior extensively. Yet, little research exists that examines donor behavior over the Internet.

The Internet presents a cost effective means for nonprofit organizations to reach new audiences, attract supporters and solicit donations. The Internet offers a combination of new media characteristics that differ from traditional channels. Understanding how these new media characteristics influence the antecedents of donor behavior may lead to higher online donations for nonprofit organizations.

This research explored the relationship between Internet media characteristics and the antecedents of online donor behavior using the Media Richness Theory. Participants were selected for this study and randomly divided into two treatment groups. Each group received an e-mail from a previously unknown nonprofit organization. The e-mail introduced the organization and provided a link to the organization's website. Both the invitation message and the website were constructed to offer different media characteristics for each treatment group. After visiting the site, participants were asked to complete a 30-item Web-based survey.

The data were first analyzed for differences in the mean scores for each treatment group. A simple t-test followed to corroborate these findings. Results indicated there is a relationship between media richness and an individual's perception in the quality of service offered by the experimental NPO. Additionally, there is a positive relationship between media richness and an individual's trust in the experimental NPO. These findings lay the foundation for future studies that analyze online donor behavior.

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