Five female CWRU students hold signs that say "thank you"

Breaking records: Day of Giving tallies highest one-day donor and dollar amounts in school history

Last week’s Day of Giving yet again broke records for the total number of single-day donors and dollars raised, as 2,739 individuals gave $1,741,026 to various units and initiatives at Case Western Reserve. The totals mark a 5% increase in donors and 12% growth in dollars over last year, and a 245% increase in donors and 789% increase in dollars since the inaugural giving day in 2013.

Gifts came in from 46 states and 10 countries, and 800 of this year’s donors gave for the first time. Athletics once again had the highest number of donors—1,097 people gave $55,117.

Yet success in year No. 7 was more than just luck. New coordinated approaches to engage and inspire the campus community to give toward an area about which they care helped grow the annual Day of Giving to its biggest yet.

Changes reap success

Enhancements to the 2019 Day of Giving included experimental incentives for the schools and units to see who could get, for example, the most faculty/staff, recurring giving and first-time alumni donors; those who won each category received an additional $500 toward their fund.

The schools and units also placed an enhanced focus on matching gifts, including a $10,000 match from trustee and alumnus Tim Callahan for the Weatherhead School of Management and a $3,500 match from four families for the Parents and Family Fund.

The Office of Annual Giving revamped the school/unit goals as well, opting for a tiered approach. For tier one—met by Kelvin Smith Library and Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing—the units needed to meet their historical average to receive $1,000. For tier two—met by the School of Law, Case School of Engineering/Case Alumni Association, Weatherhead School of Management, athletics, Parents & Family Fund, and Diversity Champion Annual Fund—each unit had to exceed their performance on the 2018 Day of Giving by 5% to receive $3,000. And for tier three, the winners of which still are being calculated, units needed to exceed their 2018 goals by 5% and retain half of their 2018 donors to receive $5,000.

In addition, the livestream video feed in which members of the campus community thank donors for their gifts, often in real time, got an old-school upgrade this year in the form of a variety show.

Hosted by alumni Ron Jantz and Aishwarya Arjunan, the variety show featured student and alumni performances, such as video performances by Spartan Bhangra and the K-Pop Dance Club. In addition, alumnus Lloyd Weema holds the world record for most burpees in 72 hours (9,480), so he committed to perform the number of burpees equal to the number of donations received in one hour (143).

“We tried to create that old-school telethon vibe that you don’t really see anymore,” said John Templeman, senior director of annual giving. “It was just fun and something different and engaging to try to get more people interested in what is happening here on campus.”

And it appears to have paid off: Viewership of the livestream increased by 67% this year.

In addition, the Office of Annual Giving coordinated a campaign to have students send personalized thank-you videos to donors throughout the year (not just the Day of Giving); more than 60% of those who received the videos via email opened them.

“This was by far, I would say, the smoothest campaign that we’ve run,” Templeman said. “I think it’s because we planned extensively for it and everybody in all the areas—the schools, the units and even departments participating—they really put solid strategies together and executed them very well.”

View final giving totals on the GiveCampus page.