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Higher education Giving Days: 7 fundraising benefits

April 30, 2022
A nonprofit employee works on his computer in preparation for his upcoming higher education giving day.

An increasing number of colleges and universities are making Giving Days an important part of their overall fundraising and engagement strategy.  

These 24-hour fundraising challenges inspire giving from schools’ alumni, faculty, students, and even non-affiliated members of their local communities. 

Let’s dive into the ways Giving Days can benefit both higher education institutions and the people who support them.

1. Improved alumni engagement

Successful Giving Days rely heavily on the school hosting the campaign to maintain an active online presence and cultivate social media engagement. Since many alumni likely follow their alma maters on social media, digital outreach lets schools connect with donors where they’re already present.

The connection between school spirit and donation requests is made convenient through social media marketing. While alumni might follow your social media channels to keep up with the success of the football team, they’ll also learn about important school initiatives and funding needs. Plus, these platforms make it easier than ever for alumni to share your fundraiser with old roommates, family members, or any other followers with an affinity for your school.

2. New donor acquisition

Allowing your donors to share your campaign with their followers is a surefire way to garner support from their social circles. Plus, Giving Days can (and often do) attract new donors simply by the nature of the fundraiser format. 

Giving Days are built around a crowdfunding format. In other words, they focus on increasing the number of donors rather than targeting a small number of large gifts. Fundraising statistics show that this is an especially popular donation type, with 34% of donors giving through crowdfunding campaigns.

Crowdfunding through a mobile-responsive Giving Day site allows donors to show their support in a way that’s convenient for them. This makes it possible for more people to get involved and to feel as though they contributed to the grand total, regardless of how much they gave.

3. Increased awareness of needs

An amplified online presence through your Giving Day website and social media campaigns can improve the number of people your message reaches. For people to relate to your cause and want to provide their support, make sure your online appeals convey your need in clear, easy-to-understand terms. 

Giving Days should focus on achieving a concise, focused goal. This singular day of fundraising will be dedicated to one project or initiative so that supporters can resonate with your financial need. 

4. Bring in immediate funds

The 24-hour timeframe of Giving Days naturally makes your appeal for donations more urgent, not only for your institution but also for donors. Consider framing your requests with the following phrasing:

  • Today only!
  • Time is running out
  • 24-hour opportunity
  • The clock is ticking
  • You still have time!

A sense of urgency encourages giving by making supporters feel as though they have a limited amount of time to donate. 

5. Tried and true strategies for guidance

More and more colleges and universities see incredible results by implementing a Giving Day in their fundraising plan. Their strategies for success throughout the day are often shared openly and can be implemented by other institutions in order to see similar results. For example, some institutions of higher education succeeded by:

  • Promoting Giving Days on social media.
  • Leveraging peer-to-peer techniques to spread the word about their campaigns.
  • Encouraging friendly competition between donors with leaderboards.

Learn from those who have leveraged Giving Day benefits before by observing others’ strategies and implementing the successful ones into your Giving Day plans.

6. Exceeded expectations

The majority of higher education organizations that host a Giving Day fundraiser surpass their initial fundraising goals.

Giving Days naturally exceed expectations by virtually engaging loyal and widespread audiences. Since Giving Days are a one-time event and a popular movement, many people will be familiar with the opportunity and eager to share it with their friends.

7. School pride and connection

Whether Giving Days support the college itself or a specific group, donors can feel a strengthened sense of pride and connection to your school by contributing. Alumni and student parents naturally have an affinity for your school, and Giving Days leverage school pride to draw support.

Also, the constrained timeframe of Giving Days can spur friendly competition. For example, a specific sports team could be recognized for giving the most as a group for that day. Competing to be the best supporter not only reinforces school spirit but also boosts support for your school.

Implement Giving Days into your school's fundraising campaign

A lot of joy comes from contributing to a significant cause. Organizations of higher learning provide students with skills, experience, and invaluable personal connections. A collaborative giving event is a positive way to give back that can also ignite a widespread spirit of philanthropy that lasts far beyond the day.

Implement a Day of Giving into your educational institution’s overall fundraising strategy to reap these benefits.

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