Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Elizabeth Stoycheff


The current landscape of Americans’ civic engagement has changed and taken new forms that are strongly impacted by the internet and social media communication. This dynamic can potentially influence nonprofit organizational effectiveness and nonprofit public relations strategies, yet it lacks in-depth scholarly investigation and understanding. Therefore, this dissertation sought to understand public support behaviors from the general population toward nonprofits, considering four different modes of civic engagement activities and three geographic levels of nonprofit organizations. Specifically, this dissertation introduced a conceptual model to explain individual factors that lead Americans to engage in online and offline advocacy and activism through and on behalf of nonprofits combating food insecurity at the local, national, and global levels. This project laid its foundation in the Situational Theory of Problem Solving (STOPS) and undertook a national online survey with an experimental manipulation embedded in it. The data collected were mainly analyzed through OLS regression and serial multiple mediation techniques. Results of this study indicate that the proposed conceptual model successfully explains how Americans arrive at the four categories of civic engagement behaviors and demonstrate that Americans do not exhibit significant differences in civic engagement intent across the three levels of analysis (local, national, or global).

Included in

Communication Commons