Building Stronger Ties With Alumni Through Facebook to Increase Volunteerism and Charitable Giving

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Abstract

This research explores how strength of network ties, as fostered by the use of a social network site, Facebook, (a) influences alumni attitudes toward volunteering for and making charitable gifts to their alma mater, and (b) fortifies consistency between attitude and behavior. After exploratory interviews and participant observation, a survey of 3,085 alumni was conducted for hypothesis testing. Structural equation modeling analysis revealed: First, active participation in Facebook groups positively predicted strength of network ties along 2 dimensions: frequency of communication and emotional closeness. Second, both dimensions of tie strength influenced actual behavior, albeit via different routes. The paper also contributes to attitude change research in showing that strength of network ties can help ensure consistencies between attitude and behavior.

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