GivingTuesday Case Study - #UofGgives

http://givingtuesday.ca/p/1105

by Brittney Dudar, Alumni Advancement Manager, Parents & Telefundraising, University of Guelph

We were so excited at the University of Guelph to hear about GivingTuesday’s Canadian debut! As an institution that has been deemed the “world’s most caring university” it felt natural for U of G to immediately start planning for our role in the movement. Our team had the vision of hosting what we called a “Giving Fair” in the University Centre – a high-traffic courtyard area on the U of G’s main campus.

Overview

Our goal was to promote philanthropy in our community and highlight other local charities. Once we determined our venue, we began to invite local NGOs, foundations, charities and businesses to have a booth at the giving fair (at no cost) and celebrate the day with us. Participants were invited to set up a booth and promote volunteer opportunities and charitable giving to their organizations, sell goods and other gift items with proceeds going towards their cause, and celebrate GivingTuesday with us as a community.

We ended up with 16 local and on-campus organizations in attendance at the Giving Fair. We even had some local organizations that caught wind of the event approach us to participate. We considered this a great win – that it was a movement people wanted to join!

#UofGgives
Booths of various local organizations in the U of G’s University Centre.

Leading up to the date, we promoted the event with a blog post on the givingtuesday.ca site, by having Guelph’s mayor Karen Farbridge promote it on her blog, by sending email blasts out to the campus community reaching most students, faculty and staff, and we included a snippet in our alumni e-newsletter in November about the upcoming initiative. We promoted the event across our U of G alumni social media channels (Facebook, Twitter) starting on National Philanthropy Day using the hashtag #UofGgives and created a separate Facebook event. We also had a poster run across prominent buildings on campus to help generate awareness around the day.

#UofGgives
Booths of various local organizations in the U of G’s University Centre.

On December 2nd, an article was featured on the main U of G homepage to promote the event and profile some student volunteers, and on GivingTuesday, December 3rd there was a banner on the U of G homepage promoting GivingTuesday and the text-to-give initiative that we had set up with the Mobile Giving Foundation of Canada.

Successes

We had some great responses from students and members of the local and university communities, both from exhibitors and giving fair attendees. The campus community was proud to be taking part in this initiative; for example, see the response from a faculty member:

“Hi, just a note - This is the kind of stuff that makes me proud to teach here - way to spread the word!”

One of the participating organizations, Second Hope Circle, said:

“It was really beneficial to SHC, we got several people interested in volunteering and a few people about fostering and adopting... I would definitely love to participate next year!”

This support was also evident in some of the social media activity we saw that day: #UofGgives was trending in the local Guelph area on December 3rd! We had 27 donors who texted-to-give through the mobile campaign we had launched with the Mobile Giving Foundation of Canada. Our giving fair attendees were pleased overall and many of the visiting organizations collected donations, sold various items that made for great Christmas gifts, signed up new volunteers, and raised overall awareness for their cause within the broader Guelph community.

Challenges

GivingTuesday falls during the university’s exam period, and as a result the foot traffic wasn’t as busy as it typically is on campus as students weren’t attending classes and were understandably cooped up studying. It was also our first time testing out a text-to-give campaign, and the results were lower than average for U of G. This may not have been the preferred channel for our alumni and friends to make their gifts. However, more widely or specific promotion may help deliver stronger results.

Final Thoughts

Following the event, we shared the success of the event with our alumni family in the December alumni e-newsletter and linked it to our site here. There were some great successes and awareness created around the day, but it was really a launching point for U of G’s participation in the GivingTuesday movement.

GivingTuesday 2014

We’re excited to announce that U of G has joined forces with Lakeside Hope House, an organization in Guelph working to relieve poverty in the city, to spearhead a city-wide GivingTuesday initiative (modelled after the noteworthy Bmore Gives More campaign.) We had our first kick-off meeting last week at U of G with our community partners who have committed to forming a steering committee for this event. Stay tuned for an update soon on our progress!

If anyone has any questions about how the GivingTuesday event at U of G was hosted, feel free to contact Brittney Dudar at [email protected].

Looking forward to GivingTuesday 2014!

#UofGgives
Booths of various local organizations in the U of G’s University Centre.
Spread the word about GivingTuesday

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