The university’s 2014 Day of Giving attracted 869 contributors, a figure 9 percent higher than last year. They gave $264,203—35 percent and $68,458 higher than in 2013.
“We are humbled by the outpouring of support from our alumni and friends,” said John Templeman, the university’s Director of Annual Giving, “and also inspired by the difference these dollars will make for our students, staff, faculty and alumni.”
Donations came from six countries, 35 states, and ranged from $1 to $15,000. Several individuals designated their gifts to their school or college, while others supported specific initiatives, like the proposed Linsalata Alumni Center and the Kelvin Smith Library.
Alumni and other friends also kept the campaign prominent on social media, filling Facebook and Twitter with posts. Many simply announced that graduates were “all in” for specific schools, while others struck more emotional chords. For example, “I’m All [In] to give back to the place that represents one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
The Day of Giving began last year as an effort to increase the number of undergraduate alumni who give and encourage donations before the end of the fiscal year June 30. U.S. News & World Report includes the percentage of alumni who give to an institution among its criteria for its annual “Best Colleges” rankings. Since 2008, the university’s ranking in alumni giving has moved 65 slots thanks to increases in the number of graduates with bachelor’s degrees who have contributed to their alma mater.
At the same time, the campaign has had the added benefit of encouraging community among alumni, as members of different organizations—for example, the university’s rowing team—encourage one another to participate in the event. Throughout the day Wednesday, classmates expressed appreciation to one another for every gift.
While last year’s inaugural Day of Giving event focused primarily on undergraduate alumni, this year’s event sought to engage graduates from every school and the college. Organizers had hoped the expansion would allow this year’s event to increase the number of donors by about 50 percent, to 1,234.
“We were so impressed with last year’s success that we ended up being too ambitious in our 2014 target,” Templeman said. “But I would much rather see our team and our alumni aim high than settle and play it safe.”
Templeman said organizers would spend the coming weeks analyzing Wednesday’s numbers and comparing them to the 2013 figures. He is confident that the additional data will help leaders craft an even more successful Day of Giving in 2015.