By Christine Aebischer
When choosing a college to attend, students weigh many factors, but when it comes down to making a final decision, the one that weighs most heavily is money — how much tuition costs and what scholarships are being offered. Besides the low tuition at the College, three out of four students also receive some kind of scholarship, according to Donna Green, director of annual giving.
The College’s newest initiative, known as the “All In” campaign, aims to gain the support of the entire College community to continue raising funds for scholarships and other campus developments.
“TCNJ is a place to be proud of and excited about,” Green said. “(The ‘All In’ campaign) is another way for people to be engaged with the campus.”
“All In” is directed at the entire community, including current and future students, faculty and staff, alumni and parents. Donations from these groups not only directly benefit students and the school, but they also help the College receive outside donations from businesses and corporations, according to John Donohue, vice president of college advancement.
“It’s really about growing a sense of ownership and loyalty to their alma mater,” Donohue said.
The “All In” campaign stresses participation more than anything else, meaning a donation of any size makes a difference. The amount of people who donate, not the amount of their donations, is what makes a difference, both for potential outside donors and for college rankings.
“It’s not the size of the gift that matters,” Green said. “It’s about participation, commitment and the idea to pay it forward. Every gift truly does make a difference — it’s not just something we say.”
The campaign also allows participants to choose where they would like their gift to go, meaning they can designate their gift to a specific school, department or athletic team — anywhere they would like to support.
“We want to keep people engaged in the life of the institution,” Donohue said.
The campaign also intends to grow the culture of giving by getting students in the habit now to give back. Alumni typically do not start donating until about 10 years post-graduation, according to Donohue, so the campaign is also meant to get them engaging with their alma mater sooner. While Donohue acknowledged that it can be difficult for students to donate, their participation in the program is significant.
“Part of the reason (current students) are enjoying their experiences is because of people before them doing the same thing,” he said. “Even a small amount drives our numbers up.”
Besides raising money, “All In” is meant to increase the energy and enthusiasm on campus.
“It’s a good time to celebrate TCNJ as a community,” Green said.