Publication Details

Noble, G. I. (2005). An exploratory study into the giving behaviour of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs): an Australian experience. In K. U_ Ghallach_ir (Eds.), Academy of Marketing: Marketing: Building Business, Shaping Society Conference (pp. 1-13). Dublin, Ireland: Academy of Marketing.


A constant growth in the number of non-profit organisations (NPOs) over the past decade has also meant an increase in competition between NPOs for ongoing support. In this environment and without the marketing resources of their national and international counterparts many smaller NPOs do not attract the same level of individual or corporate support as their larger NPO rivals. Evidence suggests an alternative source of support for these smaller NPOs is often small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

This paper argues that although there is a considerable body of literature on the giving behaviour of individuals, and to a lesser extent large publicly listed corporations, little is known about the giving behaviour of SMEs. This study begins to address this deficiency in the literature by exploring the giving be haviour of SMEs within a regional area of Australia.

Findings from eleven case studies are presented which suggest that as a result of contextual factors, including size and management structure, SMEs exhibit what can be conceptualised as a continuum of giving behaviour. This continuum reflects characteristics of both individual and large corporate giving behaviour and can be conceptualised along a number of dimensions including: strategic alignment, the nature and level of expected return and the relationship level between SME and NPO. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for small NPOs and suggests avenues for further research.

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