Great Social Media Idea: One Day Fundraising Challenge

Here I go, here I go, here I go again. Readers, what's my weakness? Higher ed's use of social media for fundraising!  (So, so many apologies to Salt-N-Pepa.)

Earlier this year, I came a cross a deliciously fabulous example of social media fundraising, and I filed it away to actually write about it for real rather than just bust it out in one evening, but of course I proved too lazy to make that happen, so here I am five months later, writing about it in one evening. Sigh.

Way back on April 10, Siena College conducted the massively successful "Siena Gives Back" initiative,  a one-day participation challenge that raised nearly $125,000 from 618. It included two different matching opportunities, one of $25,000 if they could reach 410 donors by 4PM on 4/10. After surpassing that amount, an additional matching gift of $10,000 was offered if 510 donors could be reached. 


Though not conducted exclusively online, the campaign incorporated a heavy social media element, from YouTube to Twitter to Facebook. Mini-challenges happened throughout the day (X number of donors per hour, etc.) that incorporated a lot of prizes. and word spread quickly about the giveaways and matching opportunities on social media. Also, alumni were sending out tweets like this:


I mean... how awesome is that? Really freaking awesome.

A lot of colleges do things like faculty/staff giving campaigns, senior gifts, "Tuition Freedom Day," and other on-campus initiatives that raise awareness about and participation in fundraising events.  They are all good initiatives, but they can definitely be time consuming and often require a lot of effort to help spread the word, which is where we social media folks come in.

What I especially love about this campaign from Siena is how it rolled all of that into one big ball and invited all of its alumni and parent community to take part in it as well. Lots of work, I'm sure, went into planning it and spreading the word in advance, but I love the really strong impact of one day of focused effort versus several smaller campaigns throughout the year.

Obviously, having significant matching gifts was a big key to making this successful, but the smart and effective use of social media played a critical role in helping news spread quickly, create a sense of urgency, and pushing things over the top. 

I feel like there is a lot more to learn about how this event was pulled off (whether or not print was involved, how many emails went out, if there was an on-campus giving kiosk for faculty/staff/students, etc.) , but even without all the inside info it's an amazing example of what can happen in just one day with proper planning and an engaged community.


Music at Midweek: PNAU

Great Social Media Idea: Crowdfunding in Higher Ed