Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Management and Policy

First Advisor

Dr. Dennis R. Young

Second Advisor

Dr. Shena R. Ashley

Third Advisor

Dr. Jennifer J. Clark

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Gregory B. Lewis

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Bruce A. Seaman


This dissertation analyzes competition for foundation grants in the nonprofit sector. First, I examine how inter-organization competition and foundation activity in local grants markets affect organization behavior through institutional pressure on (1) firm fundraising expenses, (2) program expense ratios, and (3) revenue diversification. Second, I explore the impacts of nonprofit program expense ratios and fundraising expenses on foundation grantmaking. This analysis focuses on the relative "prices" of donations to competing nonprofit organizations, represented by these expense ratios, and the impact prices have on foundation grant decisions relative to the impact that nonprofit marketing has. Finally, I examine whether greater competition in grants markets increases the importance of program expense ratios and firm marketing behavior for grant selection. Overall, this dissertation contributes to our understanding of organization behavior and foundation influence in grant-seeking markets and competition's role in the distribution of charitable grants.