Does Student Philanthropy Work? A Study of Long-term Effects of the “Learning by Giving” Approach


Student philanthropy is a teaching strategy designed to engage students actively in the curriculum, increase awareness of social needs and nonprofit organizations, and teach grant-writing and grant-making skills. This is the first study to examine long-term effects of student philanthropy by surveying alumni years after their experience with this teaching strategy. A majority of respondents indicated that student philanthropy had a positive effect on their awareness, learning, beliefs, and intentions. Further, 86% of student philanthropy alumni had recently made charitable contributions, 71% reported volunteering, and 15% served on nonprofit boards – all of which are much higher than the national averages for these behaviors.

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Correspondence to Julie Cencula Olberding.

Appendix A—Survey Instrument

Appendix A—Survey Instrument


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Olberding, J.C. Does Student Philanthropy Work? A Study of Long-term Effects of the “Learning by Giving” Approach. Innov High Educ 37, 71–87 (2012).

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Key words

  • Student philanthropy
  • Charitable contributions
  • Volunteerism