Case Western Reserve’s supporters did more than set two new all-time records for the university’s fifth annual Day of Giving—they more than doubled the dollars raised in the initiative’s inaugural year.
This year’s event drew 1,824 donations totaling $460,480—with each figure beating 2016’s tally by nearly 60 percent.
“Our donors really went above and beyond,” said John Templeman, senior director of annual giving. “While I hoped we would surpass last year’s gifts, I could have never imagined the level of generosity and passion for Case Western Reserve displayed this year.”
Templeman attributed this year’s success in part to growth in the number of university offices participating actively in Day of Giving events, as well as increased enthusiasm from schools and departments that participated in last year’s incentive program for exceeding goals.
Day of Giving contributions to the annual fund came from 39 states and 10 countries, and included funds to support athletics, Kelvin Smith Library and scholarships. As part of a multipronged effort to recognize the day’s donors, students called dozens of them to express their appreciation directly. In addition, the day’s organizers repeated one of 2016’s most popular new features, a live thank-you video stream during the workday. Members of the campus community—dubbed “celebrity thankers”— took turns holding up handwritten signs listing individual donors. One donor submitted a request that the thankers “do the Macarena,” a dance popularized by a 1990s song of the same name; sure enough, they did.
The donor participation challenge, an incentive program for schools and offices now in its second year, saw many double or even triple their goals. The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences again led all units for participation with 357 donors. This year, the university had 535 first-time donors.
Case Western Reserve’s alumni represented the bulk of donors at 54 percent, followed by faculty and staff at 15 percent, and “friends of the university” at 23 percent. The “friends” designation applies to those who are not alumni, faculty, students or staff; their proportion of participation this year marked a 16-percentage point increase over 2016.
“Part of the university’s mission is to better the lives of those locally and globally,” Templeman said, “and I think this support shows that friends of Case Western Reserve are able to support an area that they are passionate about and feel confident in its impact.”