Giving Blueday raises over $4 million

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 - 1:13am

Over the past 24 hours, University units and student organizations have raised over $4 million.

In celebration of Giving Tuesday — a globally acknowledged day of giving traditionally following Black Friday — the University launched the second annual Giving Blueday on Tuesday, a 24-hour fundraising campaign encouraging donations to University organizations or units from within the University community.

Last year, the University raised more than $3.2 million, well above their initial goal of $1 million, from 5,437 donors. This year’s total, according to the University’s Office of Development, was $4.63 million, with over 6,925 donors and participation from over 100 student organizations.

"Giving Blueday 2015 was a resounding success thanks to our amazing donors,” said Jerry May, vice president for development, in a statement released early Wednesday morning. “We are particularly proud of our U-M students who not only raised funds for 108 student organizations, but also made gifts to support areas they were passionate about.”

The contributions from Tuesday’s campaign will go toward the Victors for Michigan campaign, a larger fundraising effort launched in 2013 that aims to raise $4 billion for a variety of initiatives including student financial aid and engaged learning. Victors for Michigan has currently raised about $3 billion toward that goal.

Judy Malcolm, senior director of executive communication in the Office of Development, said student involvement and engagement was a large focus of this year’s Giving Blueday.

As part of the campaign, all gifts made by students were matched with funds contributed by parents and alumni up to $40,000.

“We think it’s important to teach students, as they’re going to be citizens of the world, about philanthropy and the power of philanthropy,” Malcolm said. “And students understand that their own Michigan experience has been greatly enhanced because of donors, whether it’s because of facilities they study in or because of scholarships or because of the research that’s done here, they’re learning that philanthropy has an impact on their lives and we’re hoping they’ll understand that they can make an impact on other people’s lives.”

LSA junior Cassidy Schmid, co-president of Appreciate + Reciprocate, a student organization that fundraises for need-based LSA scholarships, said Giving Blueday promotes campus awareness of giving and allows relatively small organizations like hers to raise more than they typically would during the year.

Last year, A+R raised $7,400 through donations and matching funds.

“Giving Blueday is a great way to encourage students to be philanthropic in their lives,” Schmid said. “It’s teaching people to give back to things they’re passionate about.”

Most contributions Tuesday ranged from $5 to $200. Several donors also made larger gifts, including $1 million for scholarships to the School of Nursing, $25,000 to be spread across 11 different areas of campus and $20,000 for an unspecified purpose.

Regis Vogel, senior director of development services and strategic solutions, said the small gifts in particular also help promote a spirit of giving because of the way they contribute to a larger goal.

“They may be small gifts at the beginning, but little gifts are making a big difference at the end,” Vogel said.

This year, the University also launched hourly social media challenges to encourage engagement throughout the day, in which students whose Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts promoting the campaign were selected received an extra $1,000 dollars to donate to the organization or unit of their choice.

Katherine Kowalski, associate marketing director of online engagement, said the challenges saw high student engagement. Giving Blueday also trended nationally on Twitter for several hours Tuesday.

“We were really blown away by the social media engagement that we received and that’s in large part due to the student organizations,” Kowalaski said. “Some of the most popular ones were, with students, some groups got together and recorded themselves singing the Victors— their favorite parts of the song. Students shared with us their favorite spots on campus, in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint, and really have been sharing a lot of great pictures with us.”

Overall, LSA senior Danielle Mukamel, a member of the Women’s Glee Club, which participated in the campaign, said she thought for students the impact would go beyond just Tuesday.  

Aside from donations on the day itself, she said, the event provides students with the opportunity to start thinking about donating early on, so even if they can't donate now, they know the opportunity is there and they remember how important the money they give can be.