Understanding the Culture of Giving among Utility Fuel Fund Donors in Southern California

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The Energy Assistance Fund (EAF) is a voluntary, nonprofit fuel fund that provides grants to income qualified utility customers in an effort to help those customers avoid electricity service disconnection. The administering utility and the energy industry as a whole is undergoing transformative change, resulting in a projected decrease of fundraising capacity for EAF among its most substantial donor pool - utility shareholders and employees. Utility customers represent a small percentage of EAF donors, despite the significant size of the customer base. Through a series of ethnographic interviews and secondary research, this thesis seeks to understand the demographics and motivations ... continued below

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Sauer, Ashley May 2016.

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  • Sauer, Ashley

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The Energy Assistance Fund (EAF) is a voluntary, nonprofit fuel fund that provides grants to income qualified utility customers in an effort to help those customers avoid electricity service disconnection. The administering utility and the energy industry as a whole is undergoing transformative change, resulting in a projected decrease of fundraising capacity for EAF among its most substantial donor pool - utility shareholders and employees. Utility customers represent a small percentage of EAF donors, despite the significant size of the customer base. Through a series of ethnographic interviews and secondary research, this thesis seeks to understand the demographics and motivations of utility customers who donate to EAF in order to help improve EAF’s fundraising strategy and donor solicitations to eventually grow customer donations. The goal of EAF is to maintain or grow donations from 2014 levels so the Fund can continue to serve income qualified customers facing energy poverty. This thesis provides a contextual review of fuel funds; challenges faced by the energy and utility industry; the politics and culture of energy; as well as nonprofit sector fundraising challenges and cultures/motivations of giving. This thesis includes client deliverables such as thick description of donor motivation, motivation themes and a donor motivation map, demographic data which could be used to target solicitations, and lastly a series of recommendations for EAF to improve its fundraising strategy.

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  • May 2016

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 28, 2016, 4:28 p.m.

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  • July 25, 2016, 1:05 p.m.

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Sauer, Ashley. Understanding the Culture of Giving among Utility Fuel Fund Donors in Southern California, thesis, May 2016; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc849722/: accessed May 27, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .