Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University
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Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy: The Case of Small Australian Firms
Vol. Volume 9, Number 3 December/2004

Michael T. Schaper and Lawson K. Savery
Little is currently known about the nature of philanthropic activities engaged in by microbusinesses. Only limited knowledge exists about the type of charitable contribution made, the causes for which such gifts are made, and what firm characteristics (if any) can be reliably used to predict the likelihood of an organisation’s philanthropic activity. A study of 95 Western Australian microbusinesses revealed that most respondents did not contribute to any charitable causes. Of the minority that did provide some support, their clear preference was via a financial contribution rather than “hands-on” involvement. The most popular destinations for financial contributions were to environmental, health, religious, and sporting causes; cultural and educational bodies received much lower contributions. Testing of firm and owner demographics revealed few statistically meaningful associations which might be used to predict a firm’s inclination for charitable giving. Only education levels of the owner/manager were positively associated with giving propensity.

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