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Giving Tuesday results best of any year yet

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Lauren Philie

Lauren Philie

Madison Doucette

Madison Doucette

Lauren Philie

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Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28, raised just under $13,000 in the course of a day’s work. Donations came from students, faculty and alumni to meet the goal set by the campaign managers, Mary Fafard, the alumni database manager, and Director of Development and Alumni Relations Lauren Philie.

Started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y, a community group located in New York City, and the United Nations Foundation, Giving Tuesday is a response of the consumerism that takes place after the Thanksgiving season. Since the inception of Giving Tuesday, which takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, JSC has involved itself in the growing national tradition, starting with a small total of donations.

“In the first year, we raised $200, the next year we raised $400, then $10,000. Last year was $10,000, and then this year we raised almost $13,000,” Philie said.

Last year, the money that was donated went to a wide range of programs, funds, and scholarships that helped benefit the college.

According to Philie, donations went to a wide variety of funds within the college. “There were 19 different funds that it went to,” Philie said. “It went to the annual fund, we have EDP scholarship fund, and alumni scholarship fund, a President’s fund. Money went to rugby, men’s basketball, cross county, basically any athletics on campus. Some specific-named scholarships too. Really depended on where [the donors] wanted to direct the money to. We were out to get money for the annual fund but we wanted all types of donations.”

Giving Tuesday is described as both hectic but also exciting by both Fafard and Philie. Both worked a very long day, from early morning till late at night to reach their goal of donations.

“So you wake up in the morning and have zero dollars with a goal of $11,000 and you have no idea how the day is going to go,” Philie said. “With every donation that comes in, it gets pretty exciting because it’s getting towards our goal little-by-little. We try to block out our entire day because of how hectic it is. There was also a lot of prep work going into it to get to the goal too, so we had to strategically think about how to advertise it.”

To collect this amount of donations, extensive outreach had to take place to raise awareness of the event.
“We had to strategically think about how to advertise it,” said Philie. “We had to set things up such as making a video that we showed [on the JSC Facebook page]. We did a texting campaign for the first time. Some people linked to our donation page from a text that also required prep work.”

The texting campaign was one of Fafard’s jobs during Giving Tuesday to connect with over 1,000 people to see if they could donate.

“We were testing out a texting program where we could upload a thousand numbers that we have in our database into this program and this program would tell us if the numbers were cell phones or not,” said Fafard. “The ones that were cell phones, I would make an automatic message that I wanted to send to all of them, but then I have to press ‘send’ a thousand times. Some would respond and I would talk to them.”

Fafard and Philie also had to make a video giving donors a visual sense of what they were donating to, helping emphasize the need for donations.

“Lauren and I came up with the concept with how we could show alumni and donors where the money goes to,” Fafard said. “Unrestricted funds that we will put towards areas of need for the college, so not necessarily scholarships, but sometimes anything that needs to worked on around this school. The purpose was to show a quirky side of the annual funds, like it keeps the lights on, maybe it pays for toilet paper, or it buys new Macs in the MARS lab. Just trying to visualize what the donated money turns into.”

To collect the money, many different methods were used. This included a phone-a-thon, dollar wars, and mailing in donations for Giving Tuesday. The people who donated ranged from students to a former president of the college.

“Here we have a campus full of people,” Philie said. “So we raise online, through payroll deductions that staff and faculty make. The way I calculate that is by somebody donates a dollar or two a payroll, but I calculate that as a year worth of payroll deductions. If you give a dollar through payroll for Giving Tuesday purposes, I count it as $26 because there are 26 payrolls. I feel like that’s a fair way of handling it because most people never cancel their payroll deductions and goes on for years and years, so it’s actually a bigger gift. We also do ‘change wars’ or ‘dollar wars.’ This year we tried dollars because we had a really hard counting all the change fast enough. Some people give checks, so they will mail it to be specifically cashed on Giving Tuesday. People come into Alumni office to give donations. We have a phone-a-thon, and we have hired student callers that night that call alumni, and every year I’ve be able to successfully solicit somebody who would match those donations, so that’s a great incentive for alumni to give that night. We have a message [that basically says] ‘Hey, if you donate tonight, we’ll match your donation.’ That a really good incentive [for people to match]. We had a donor match the giving war, and then we had a donor who was our former president, Barbara Murphy, who matched the donations to the phone-a-thon.”

Despite the success of this year’s campaign, Fafard and Philie want to see more student involvement in future fund raising events.

“It was great to have Mary in the office this year because she came up with new ideas and ways to do Giving Tuesday,” Philie said. “But one thing that we still haven’t nailed that we are looking to improve is to better involve students. I don’t know if anybody had any ideas or wanted to talk to me but I would be more than happy to have them come in and talk to me. Also, I’ve got some funds so that I can hire some people. We hired Cody Logan as a social media ambassador. He did a bunch of posting on social media, which was cool, and will be something that we hope to do in the future. We definitely have that ability to attract more students to get people to donate.”

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Giving Tuesday results best of any year yet