The Boston University Office of Development and Alumni Relations is sponsoring its first Giving Day fundraiser Wednesday to foster cooperative contributions from students, alumni and parents in the BU community.
Giving Day is the first fundraising event of its kind implemented at BU as a part of the Campaign for Boston University, the university’s comprehensive fundraising and development program enacted earlier last year.
Hilary Shepard, director of annual giving for BU’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations, said while Giving Day is modeled after similar approaches undertaken by other national universities, it will provide a sense of collective action and enthusiasm unique to BU.
“A few other schools like Columbia [University] and [University of] Notre Dame have recently done really successful Giving Days that have gotten their entire communities involved and energized,” Shepard said, “and also made a huge impact on fundraising and what these schools are able to provide for their students. We wanted to do something similar to give BU students, alumni, faculty and staff the chance to participate in a day where they could support what they most love about BU.”
Giving Day is an extension of the ongoing Campaign for BU, in terms of both strategy and goals, Shepard said.
“Along with the Million Hours Project and the $1 billion goal, a key goal of the campaign is to increase the number of alumni and students who give back no matter what the amount,” she said.
Along with such a focus on inclusivity and expansion of fundraising networks, Giving Day will rely exclusively on online donations and advertise heavily on social media outlets to reach out to a broad contingent of current and former students, according to Shepard.
Giving Day will employ a dollar-for-dollar strategy, in which the first $1,000 of all gifts will be matched by Trustee Stephen Karp, according to the event’s official website.
Karp, a 1963 College of Arts and Sciences graduate, pledged to match funds donated by the community during the 24-hour period. Shepard said this strategy is geared toward expanding both the funds donated in the event and the awareness of personal impact that each donating community member can feel.
“The idea of a 24-hour timeframe where your support can make twice the difference is really powerful,” Karp said. “I think we as humans all respond to a fun event where you can also do some good, and that is exactly what Giving Day is all about. Everyone has the chance to make double the impact.”
Shepard said the creativity and unique strategy of Giving Day could develop into the single largest day of donations on record at BU.
“The goal is to make Giving Day the single largest day of giving in the history of BU in terms of how many people give back the University,” she said. “The BU community is truly great … and I am very confident that the community will come together and make history on Wednesday.”
Shepard also said fundraising and community outreach and development events such as Giving Day and the Campaign for BU raise the university’s prestige and standings both nationally and internationally.
The donation period will begin at 12 a.m. Wednesday morning and end 24 hours later. Shepard said she remains extremely confident and optimistic about Giving Day and its prospects for success.
“One reason for such an event is because it factors into our rankings as a university,” she said. “We all know that BU deserves to be ranked in the top tier of schools in the country. In terms of what to expect, the sky is the limit.”