Organizers and students optimistic about Giving Blueday impact

Sunday, November 26, 2017 - 6:15pm

More than 130 student organizations will take part in Giving Blueday on Tuesday, the most in the four years that the event has been held. Giving Blueday, a 24-hour University-wide donation campaign, raised $5.5 million from more than 7,300 donors last year.

Scheduled to coincide with Giving Tuesday — a global day of charity following Black Friday — Giving Blueday encourages members of the University community to donate to organizations, programs, schools and scholarship funds. Only donations made by phone or online on Nov. 28 will count toward the total.

Katy Wallander, associate director of Student Philanthropy, said student organizations which will participate typically raise between $1,000 and $2,000.

“I think that sometimes students think that when you give to Michigan, it just goes in the same bucket, but really there’s such a variety of places,” Wallander said. “You can really decide what matters most to you and support that.”

The University will offer $150,000 in matching fund for certain demographics, such as students and first-time donors. According to the Giving Blueday website, more than 2,000 new donors contribute to Giving Blueday annually. Last year, more than 4,000 programs and funds benefitted.

U-M Supermileage is a student engineering team which builds high tech, highly fuel efficient cars to compete in the Shell Eco-marathon, a national challenge in which students compete to build the most energy efficient vehicle. The money they raised through Giving Blueday last year went toward covering the costs associated with the materials and designs for their car.

Engineering junior Hannah Ferriby, PR lead for U-M Supermileage, said since the Shell Eco-Marathon recently relocated from Detroit to Sonoma, Calif., the team’s travel expenses have increased.

“This year we are mainly focusing our efforts within our organization since we are less-known than other engineering design teams,” Ferriby said. “We are encouraging our members to tell their friends and family about the different opportunities for them to donate to our organization and we are promoting our giving link over our social media platforms.”

In celebration of the University’s Bicentennial, social media challenges offered throughout the day will award additional funds to winners.

“We want to make sure students can be a part of the day,” Wallander said. “There’s a lot of social media challenges to inspire everyone who loves the University to get involved, so students can participate in those as well.”

Students who visit the Diag or Pierpont Commons on Tuesday will have the opportunity to recommend programs to be randomly selected to win $50. Five suggestions will be chosen from each location and the Student Philanthropy team will make the donation in the student’s name.

“When we talk to them, we say, ‘What are the areas that you think really need more donations or more support?’” Wallander said. “It just gives them the opportunity to be asked that question, since that’s something that’s being asked of everyone who is going to participate in Giving Blueday.”

Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan has been part of Giving Blueday for the past three years. They will host events throughout the day, including selling coffee in the morning in the Chem Building and a fundraiser at Pizza House.

Recruitment and Outreach Chair Raza Khan said the money DMUM raises goes to support pediatric rehabilitation therapies at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

“These therapies help provide children of all abilities with experiences that they may not necessarily have a chance to enjoy on their own,” Khan said. “This means that every dollar we raise goes toward helping a child climb a tree for the first time, ride a horse, go bowling, or even take a karate class. It is an incredibly meaningful cause that makes a huge impact on both the students in DMUM and the families we seek to help.”

Contributions made on Tuesday will go to Victors for Michigan, a fundraising effort launched in 2013 with the goal of raising $4 billion for the University. The campaign has surpassed its initial goal, and has made $4.33 billion as of October.

However, research conducted in May by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy found that proposed changes to tax policy proposed by Congress and the Trump administration could reduce charitable giving by an estimated $4.9 billion to $13.1 billion annually.

Wallander is still optimistic. The Student Philanthropy Team held information sessions prior to Giving Blueday to teach student organizations the “best practice” for raising money.

“We know that a lot of student organizations are passionate about raising funds for important causes at the University,” she said. “We want them to maximize their fundraising results for the day so that they can push forward their missions and have the impact that they really want to have in the upcoming year.”