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Abstract

The contribution of donations and volunteer time to North American arts and cultural organizations is impressive. Growing economic uncertainty coupled with the increasingly competitive nature of philanthropic work and fluctuating volunteerism rates describe some of the challenges facing nonprofit managers in the arts and cultural field today. The intent of this study was to explain charitable giving to an arts and cultural organization in a Canadian context using variables supported in the literature related to philanthropic behavior. The variables included the norm of social responsibility, donor benefits, philanthropic behavior, and household income. Data (233 questionnaires) were collected at a renowned community symphony with revenue from various sources including over $1 million annually in private support. Multiple regression analysis determined two of the four hypotheses were supported and two were partially confirmed. While the norm of social responsibility and household income did confirm existing literature, philanthropic behavior seemed only defined by length of time as donor rather than by volunteering for arts and cultural organizations and donor benefits included tax incentives but not receiving a “gift” in exchange for a support. Research such as this, which contributes to our understanding of arts and cultural donors and the benefits they seek, continues to be important with the potential to inform nonprofit managers. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.