College Gets Huge Boost From Give Day

Kristen Dunham: Philanthropy interns played a key role in Give Day.
Philanthropy interns played a key role in Give Day.

Give Day 2018 proved to be a big success for Spring Hill College on March 19.

The annual fundraiser for the college raised more than $230,000, according to Mary McDonald, SHC’s vice president for Development and Alumni Relations. The college surpassed its goal for the event by more than $5,000 and eclipsed last year’s total, as well.

“We are thrilled that the Spring Hill College community – alumni, parents, friends, faculty, staff and students – rallied around Give Day 2018 to meet and exceed our goal,” McDonald said.  “But we are even more excited about the culture of philanthropy that we are building on campus.  Give Day would not have been a success without the team effort from our divisions, our athletic teams and our alumni. And we are most grateful.”

Nearly 700 donors responded to the campaign, which was largely waged over social media. Of the donors, 62 percent were alumni of the college, according to the campaign’s website. Twelve percent were faculty and staff at SHC, and 9 percent were parents of SHC students. Seven percent were friends of the college, and 4 percent were current students at the school.

The success came after changes were made to the program, giving incentives and funds for different divisions of the college. Donors had a chance to donate to the division that has impacted them the most. “We expanded the [incentive] designations so that an alum from business could give to the business division,” explained Cris Smith, director of annual giving. “If we’re going to encourage [alumni] to make a difference on campus, we want to let them have the opportunity to do it where they spent their time and for what they care about.” Some incentive designations included the divisions of business, education, nursing and Campus Ministry. Gifts are also going to regional scholarships like the Chicago Alumni Scholarship, the New Orleans Chapter Scholarship and scholarships for the Mobile and St. Louis Alumni Chapters.

Hourly Incentive Challenge Activities throughout the day encouraged Give Day participation. For example, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., the most liked post with #shcgiveday and the division’s hashtag received a $250 incentive fund for that division. This encouraged outreach from divisions to alumni and friends since the divisions stand to collect those incentives. According to Caitlin Jones, assistant director of annual giving, philanthropy interns from the Office of Development have spoken with each department on how to prepare for these hourly activities.

According to unofficial tallies on the campaign website, The Division of Science and Mathematics led the way by attracting 54 donors and targeted donations of more than $9,000. The Division of Communication, Fine and Performing Arts had 53 donors and targeted donations of more than $3,000. The Division of Languages and Literature received targeted donations of nearly $5,000 from 23 donors.

The philanthropy interns who work with Phonathon enjoy being a part of Give Day because of how it impacts students like them who receive scholarships. They also appreciate the changes that help directly fund each division.  “This is more personal because it’s not just for our overall goal,” said Lauryn Herman, one of the philanthropy interns. “It’s going specifically for your division or department… Give Day is more personal than just our average everyday calling.” Jones says they also like they are working for the bigger picture of Spring Hill and the future.

SHC’s Give Day was launched in 2015 when a pair of SHC students, Erinn Vogel and Megan St. Germain, led the campaign as part of their Senior Seminar in Communication Arts. Their first effort raised more than $66,000 for the college. Upon graduation, they left their plans to the SHC Office of Development, which since made it an annual campaign.

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