By Ruby Dickson
On Wednesday, Nov. 12, the Lawrence University held the first-ever Giving Day.
The event was intended as a fundraising opportunity to raise awareness and support for the Lawrence Fund. Assistant Director of Annual Giving Claire Conard ’14 stated about the event, “We want this to be an event to let alumni show how much they love Lawrence.”
The Lawrence Fund helps all students on campus, and is responsible for the reduction of the average student’s tuition by more than $10,000. It does this by routinely providing funding for student events, campus utilities, products necessary for classes, extra-curricular activities and much more. In order to boost awareness and to increase donations to help students, Lawrence organized the first Giving Day this year.
This was not the first all-day funding event at Lawrence, but it is the first to be an event of its own, separate from Founders’ Day. This event, inspired by Columbia University’s giving push, is an event to engage the whole Lawrence community.
Giving Day consisted of several simultaneous events. Most visibly, the staff and involved students presented a 12-hour live stream on the Lawrence website from the brand-new Hurvis Film Center.
The live stream, hosted by senior Peter Raffel and Social Media Specialist Kasey Corrado, included interviews with important campus figures, a trivia event in honor of the 50th anniversary of The Great Midwest Trivia Contest and musical performances from many current and former Lawrence students.
“We really want to make it interactive for the students as well,” Kayla O’Brien, Associate Director of Annual Giving said.
To this end, a table outside of the Warch Campus Center was held, encouraging students to participate in the events and to contribute to the Lawrence Fund.
In addition, the Giving Day festivities included a large Internet and social media push. The organizers encouraged students to change their Facebook profiles and banners, and to make posts on Facebook and other social media. There was even a Twitter Bingo contest, in which students used Twitter to achieve goals in order to win prizes and to be entered into a lottery for a gift certificate to the Lawrence campus apparel store.
“We want to make this a community of Lawrence experience,” O’Brien said.
Alumni from around the country had pledged to serve as “Game-Changers,” hugely increasing their previous donations in order to match donations by other alumni. Alumni who graduated in the past decade, for example, received a $500 match for every gift, and alumni from all years were encouraged to give for a dollar-for-dollar match, in a special all-day calling effort from Phonathon. All proceeds from alumni donations went straight to the Lawrence Fund to help current students.
At the end of the day, Lawrence students, parents, alumni and friends had raised $1,136,069. As Conard made clear, “It’s a Lawrence community task to make this successful.”