5th annual 'U' Giving Blue Day receives more donors, less total donations

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 3:02pm

During the University of Michigan’s fifth annual Giving Blueday, donors gave a total of $3,638,612 to the University, according to a University press release. Over 12,600 gifts were contributed over the course of the 24-hour event, though the sum donated has decreased by close to a million dollars since 2017.

In comparison to previous years, the amount of donors has increased while the total amount raised has decreased. In 2016, about 7,000 donors raised over $5.5 million on Giving Blueday and in 2017, over 8,000 donors raised over $4.4 million. The size of the average donation has decreased considerably, from approximately $753 in 2016 to $288 this year.

“Our primary goal for Giving Blueday is to encourage as many people as possible to donate to U-M, no matter the size of the gift,” Pamela Stout, the senior director of executive communications, wrote in an email statement. “We've been fortunate enough to increase that number every year. This year, we focused even more directly on the goal of 10,000 gifts, and are thrilled with the 12,635 gifts received in just 24 hours.

According to Stout, the total sum of donations drastically varies based on the size of gifts.

“In previous years, we booked more major gifts on Giving Blueday.” Stout wrote. “This year, we focused more directly on expanding our community of donors, and they very generously responded.”

Stout also revealed previous donor number statistics may not be comparable to current statistics due to a recent software change. This year, the individual number of gifts from donors was calculated, whereas in previous years, the number of donor transactions was calculated. This means that there is not a statistic to compare the exact number of donors from this year to previous years. The number of gifts does not necessarily reflect the number of donors because some donors give multiple gifts.

All three University campuses –– Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint –– participated in Giving Blueday, which coincides with the national Giving Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Donors could choose to direct gifts to various funds across the University, a specific school or college, or student organizations.

The University release also reported LSA received the most gifts through the Giving Blueday website this year, while the Michigan Sailing Team raised the most money out of any student organization through the website.

The amount of student participation in Giving Blueday increased for the fourth straight year, as over 150 student organizations took part.

Dance Marathon raised the most money out of any student organization overall. Other student orgs such as MUSIC Matters and the Health Policy Students Association ranked in the top 10 organizations to increase donors from last year by the highest percentages.

The Michigan Sailing Team, SAE-Michigan Baja Racing and M-Fly all received monetary prizes to contribute to their cause for ranking as the top three student orgs to increase donor turnout by the highest percentage.

According to the press release, first-time donors who donated $50 or more to the University received an extra $50 to donate to the cause of their choice. First time student donors who donated $25 to U-M received an additional $25 to give to a fund of their choice.

LSA senior Marina Ross, co-chair of The Quito Project, spoke about the impact of the funds raised during Giving Blueday. The Quito Project is an organization run by University students who work in partnership with students from the Universidad de San Francisco in Quito, Ecuador, to hold a free summer camp program for Quito children in extreme poverty. 

According to Ross, The Quito Project raised about $200 on Giving Blueday in 2017. This year, they raised approximately $1600.

“We are going to use (the funds) to run the entire summer camp,” Ross said. “We do provide our students with two meals a day, so we’ll use that money to actually purchase all the food and also pay the local workers there that will prepare it.”

Donors on Giving Blueday also contributed to the Victors for Michigan campaign, which extends until December 2018 and continues to break public university fundraising records. The campaign has raised $5 billion to date.

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