When Case Western Reserve University officials conceived this week’s Day of Giving, the goal of 618 donors seemed a large leap of faith. Since the concept was entirely untested on this campus, no precedent existed to guide them.
Would the Day of Giving need to last 72 hours to reach the target? Or perhaps a whole week?
They needn’t have worried. University alumni embraced Tuesday’s All [in] campaign with abandon. The 24-hour effort tallied 795 donors and $195,745. Commitments came from 10 countries, 37 states and the District of Columbia—in fact, the very first gift came from Japan.
Donations ranged from $1 to $10,000, with the average amount $245. People pledged to scholarships, departments and even the cause of increased communication among students in different academic disciplines.
All [in] involved alumni outreach to fellow graduates, emails, postcards and a Facebook page dedicated to the event. Hundreds joined, and some took the time to explain just why:
“I’m still “all [in],” because being a graduate of CWRU is a source of pride for me. I treasure my time there when I was a student, and I consider it a privilege to be able to do my part in helping the university become an even better experience for both current and future students.”
“I’m not even an alum (yet), but I am All [in]! I just gave to support the Arabic program in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures…”
“Love this University! Changed my life. I am in.”
“Giving today because of all the great memories from my time on campus! Who can forget all the great times at homecoming, Leutner, or staying up way too late in KSL!”
“I give so future CWRU students can have the scholarships I received!”
Increased participation was a primary purpose of the Day of Giving. The proportion of alumni who donate to their alma mater often is seen as a measure of graduates’ satisfaction with their academic experience. U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of national universities, for example, include the percentage of alumni who give as a factor in a school’s total score. As one graduate observed on Facebook: “Giving back, regardless of amount, actually increases the value of your degree.”
The success of this week’s event already has people planning for the future. What other ideas might drive donations and increase alumni connections to their alma mater? Let the university know in the comments section below this article. For now, organizers simply want to say to everyone involved in this initiative: “Thank You for Going All [in].”