WILMINGTON — Students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of Wilmington College marshaled forces on #GivingTuesday (Dec. 3) to set a participation record of 611 donors as $100,000 was raised for special campus projects.
During last year’s banner daylong campaign, the College’s goal was to raise a record $75,000 in a day — the final count was a whopping $100,000 from 276 donors. This year’s #GivingTuesday focus was to increase the number of gifts by successfully engaging 500 donors during the 24-hour period.
Ultimately, 611 persons — many of whom were WC students — participated in the record-setting day in which the College matched last year’s record total by raising $100,000.
Matt Wahrhaftig, vice president for advancement said the College’s emphasis for #GivingTuesday is not only to raise dollars, but also to use the day as an opportunity “to demonstrate the power and impact that philanthropy has on our campus. We wanted to show that every gift matters to Wilmington College.”
Indeed, they highlighted that concept by using the Twitter hashtags #handsonlearning and #handsongiving throughout the campaign.
#Giving Tuesday is the day in which persons across the nation contribute to their favorite charities and not-for-profit organizations and institutions. It’s the philanthropic brother to the popular Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday promotions following Thanksgiving.
Wahrhaftig and his team camped out in Pyle Student Center lobby most of the day, sharing information on the 16 special campus projects that comprised the focus of the day’s giving.
“It was a remarkable day,” he said. “We had so many people come by Pyle and visit with a word of encouragement while dropping off a gift. It is heartwarming to see what we can do when we pull together as a community.”
Indeed, Wahrhaftig enlisted the Communication Arts Dept. to work on #GivingTuesday as a class project for which they generated a social media campaign geared toward getting fellow students excited about the day’s promotion.
“One particularly fun note was watching the students that were helping us with the campaign,” he said, noting that, not only did they do “a tremendous job” with the videos and pre-campaign work, but they also were heavily invested in convincing their peers on campus to make gifts to the campaign.
“We had one student give us $50 and several who made $20 gifts. As we got closer to the 500-gift goal, their excitement grew and several students actually reached into their own
wallets and pulled out a dollar or two to ‘loan’ to their classmates funds so they too could participate.”
Wahrhaftig said excitement on campus was palpable as the campaign exceeded giving levels and challenge gifts were “unlocked.”
Prior to #GivingTuesday, the Advancement Office secured a commitment of challenge gifts from a heavily engaged donor, who committed $5,000 gifts once the 200 and 400-gift levels were achieved and an additional $15,000, which was unlocked upon hitting the 500-gift goal.
When they reached the original goal early Tuesday evening, Wahrhaftig believed there was a chance to exceed 600 gifts by the strike of midnight. The combination of gifts that originated on campus and online giving by alumni and friends that evening eclipsed the stretch goal with 611 total gifts.
He expressed his elation for the support the College received from its many stakeholders.
“It’s hard to put into words how thankful we are to everyone who supported this effort made on behalf of our students,” he said. “Students were instrumental in our success — and they will be the beneficiaries of the campaign, It was great witnessing their passion for WC,”
This year’s campaign featured 16 special campus projects, including funding: student scholarships, seed money for a chamber music series, for enhancing Disability Services, immersion trips sponsored by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, a sound lab, professional soccer benches, the upgrading of the Harcum Art Gallery lighting system and a lab for the emerging occupational therapy program.
Also, funds were raised to stage the second Quaker Tank entrepreneurial competition, as well as to enhance entities under the umbrella of Quaker Media (Quake Radio, The Witness student newspaper and Woodhouse literary magazine).
The most unusual project might be funding a Foucault Pendulum, which is a visual piece that would show “science in action.”
The daylong campaign also raised funds for experiential service immersion trips, intramural sports equipment, Quaker Thunder Pep Band, a patient simulator experience for athletic training students, Spanish education enrichment and the Peace Resource Center Response Project.