By Thomas Infante
The College has been fundraising for years, but Thursday, Nov. 5, marked the first ever Day of Giving. In just one day, the College was able to raise over $72,000 with 788 donors.
The wall on Green Lawn remains covered in loving praises from many of the College’s students, indicative of the school pride that resonates throughout the campus. Alumni, faculty and student volunteers cheerfully encouraged passing students to take pictures with Roscoe the Lion or enjoy free cider and coffee.
Several activities were set up for students and alumni to participate in, including a photo booth, a “Wheel of Fortune” with prizes and a game to pin a varsity letter on Roscoe. These activities encouraged students to donate, but more importantly, showcased students’ pride in the College.
“The Day of Giving is an effort to get both current students and alumni involved in the donating process together,” said senior psychology major Michelle Borrero, who volunteered during the day. “We hope that alumni will see current students donating and feel more inclined to donate themselves.”
The College’s Office of Development is now utilizing a “crowdfunding” model in order to gather donations. This model has proved incredibly successful for many entrepreneurs in recent years, with websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo raising millions of dollars to fund projects such as video games, new computer software and new technologies.
The Day of Giving is the College’s way of combining student participation in fundraising with alumni support. In some cases, individuals will promise to donate a sum of money only once a certain amount of people have contributed. For example, Derek Wan, a 2001 graduate, promised to donate $5,000 after 500 students had contributed to the Day of Giving — a challenge that was met.
The idea is that Wan’s goal would encourage students to donate even a small quantity, and upon seeing the extensive student participation, more alumni will continue to donate.
“When the campus community supports giving, it is much more apt to leverage external support,” said Melissa Lide, the associate director of Annual Giving at the College. “The event also acts as a proxy for grant donations, which are encouraged by high alumni participation rates.”
According to Lide, most of the donations made on the Day of Giving go toward the College’s annual fund, which supports general operating costs, scholarship rewards and opportunities to study abroad, among many other costs.
“All students eventually become alumni, so the Day of Giving fosters a charitable attitude throughout the entire TCNJ community,” Lide said.
Lide was also “overjoyed” with the level of support exhibited by the campus community.
“Many people wanted to be a part of the event,” Lide said.
In fact, there were more than 100 student volunteers and around 60 alumni and faculty volunteers present throughout the day helping coordinate event activities.
Emphasis was put on maintaining a presence on social media in order to raise awareness for the event by using the hashtag #OneDayTCNJ. In a crowdfunding model, it is very important to keep contributors updated on how close the campaign is to achieving its goal. Social media also promotes fundraising from users through peer-to-peer interaction.
More than simply an opportunity to donate, the Day of Giving is a showcase of unity amongst students from the College, both past and present. A day such as this shows that one’s ‘Lion’s Pride’ never fades, even years after graduation.