Giving Blue Day calls on students to contribue

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - 4:30pm

The University will conduct its second annual Giving Blueday on Tuesday, a 24-hour event during which students and alumni are encouraged to donate to campus organization and programs. 

The event is a spinoff of Giving Tuesday, a global movement dedicated to philanthropy and giving back to communities and is inspired by Black Friday events. 

“When it comes to philanthropy, Michigan students are no strangers to accomplishing great things,” wrote E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life, in an e-mail about the event to the student body Tuesday. “From supporting medical treatments for underserved populations, to funding community service trips for your fellow students, many of you are part of student organizations that support amazing causes here at U-M and beyond.”

Last year, the University surpassed its goal of raising $1 million from at least 1,000 donors — amassing about $3.2 million from 5,437 donors, half of whom were new. Judy Malcolm, senior director of executive communications in the Office of University Development, said the goal this year is to surpass that amount.

“We went way beyond it in terms of dollars and donors,” she said. “Introducing new donors was really fabulous … many of them students, and that was really fantastic.”

The outstanding support from donors, Malcolm said, means that they understand the spirit of philanthropy.

“We are often surprised by how many people don’t realize that the University is a public institution,” she said. “It is nonprofit. Often, the students ask why the University would raise money and we really take our great success to mean that people understand the power of philanthropy and support the University and what it’s doing.”

To increase donations this year,Malcolm said the University is working closely with student groups to help them with fundraising tactics and spreading awareness about the event. The University is currently collaborating with 108 student organizations for Giving Blueday.

“One thing we found in the past we’re delighted with is that students get a better idea of philanthropy,” Malcolm said. “We think it’s important that they understand that fundraising isn’t just throwing money mindlessly in a bucket. They learn by being donors on Giving Blueday or by fundraising. They learn that they can accomplish things, make an impact by fundraising or by being a donor with a gift of any size.”

Last year, students donors raised $157,000 out of the $3.2 million total. In her e-mail, Harper encouraged even greater student participation this year, noting that each student donation will be matched through a $40,000 donation made by alumni and parents.

Any area of the University, such as the health system, or programs like Semester in Detroit, are eligable to recieve donations. 

Organizers are also encouraging students to promote the fundraiser and thank donors for their contributions via social media.

Leading up to the event, the University and student organizations have sent out regular e-mail blasts to notify potential donors about Giving Blueday, as well as used social media challenges to encourage student participation.

“We’ve really put the word out all over campus,” Malcolm said. “All the colleges at the University are participating.”