Ithaca College Takes Giving Day to the Next Level

Amanda Kohn by on May 20, 2015

GivingDay2015Giving Days are a 24-hour online fundraising campaign that unite stakeholders, volunteers and community members around a specific cause. For higher education institutions, Giving Days provide an unprecedented opportunity to engage students, alumni, faculty, staff and parents, encouraging them to give back to their universities or colleges. Institutions of higher education are increasing their involvement with Giving Days, as these fundraising campaigns are less time consuming as a regular campaign. Planning and carrying out a Giving Day takes anywhere from three to nine months whereas a traditional fundraising campaign takes seven to eight years[i].

On February 26, Ithaca College (IC) participated in its first annual Giving Day, which raised over $735,000. IC promoted the event through email and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Traditionally, Giving Days incorporate matching funds, the use of all social media platforms to continuously promote the event and incorporating the main goal of what the funds will be used for after the event has ended. Compared to a traditional Giving Day, Ithaca College’s Giving Day stood out from other institutions hosting similar programs because of the hourly challenges it incorporated throughout the day.


Giving Day 2015[ii]

Ithaca College hosted one- and two-hour long challenges (e.g., First Donor, Most Alumni Donors, #ICGivingDay hashtag, etc.) that allowed students, alumni, faculty, staff and parents to give monetary donations in a competitive setting. Within each challenge, participating donors could select the school within their own college with which they most affiliate (e.g., School of Music or Park School of Communications). After each hourly event, the winning school with the most donations (or in some cases a randomly selected tweet, Instagram photo or hashtagged image) was awarded an extra $1,000 to $10,000, which was pulled from Ithaca’s Annual Fund. The school with the highest challenge participation rate received an additional $26,000.

Ithaca College’s Hourly Challenges Results[iii]

Hourly challenges create a unique incentive for community members to give back to their college or university. By incorporating hashtag challenges on social media sites, participants can show off their school pride while connecting with other contributors and continuing to promote the event. It will be interesting to see if hourly challenges are incorporated into other colleges’ and universities’ Giving Days, as we can expect the program to grow, showcasing more creative ways to campaign and increasing alumni engagement and donations.

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About The Author

Amanda Kohn

Amanda is a Senior Research Associate for Alumni Monitor at Corporate Insight. Read more