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This study introduces and explores the value of SPLIT donors (donors making gifts to both academic and athletic programs at educational institutions). Detailed empirical records of donor giving to three NCAA Division I institutions establish that significant value of SPLIT donors to educational institutions. In the short term, SPLIT donors give higher total average gifts than donors making athletics-only gifts. In the long-term, SPLIT donors are retained at a higher rate than donors making academics-only gifts. The combination of gift size and retention rate maximizes the lifetime value of SPLIT donors to the institution. However, despite having higher lifetime value to the institution, there may be a disincentive for athletic programs to cultivate SPLIT donors. While the average total gifts of SPLIT donors are higher than the average gifts of their counterparts supporting only athletic programs, their average gift to athletics is lower.
Stinson is with the Northwest Center for Sport Business, Dept. of Management, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA. Howard is with the James H. Warsaw Sports Marketing Center in the Charles H. Lundquist School of Business, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR.