By: Chana Weinberg | News  | 

Second Annual Giving Day Raises $4.5 Million in 24-Hour Campaign

The second annual YU Giving Day campaign raised $4,538,697 from 3,004 donors, surpassing the original stated goal of $3 million from 3,000 donors, according to the Giving Day website. While the original $3 million goal was reached with hours to spare, the total donors goal was aided by a push of over 1,000 donors in the last two hours.

The 24-hour campaign ran from noon on April 25th to the 26th and included promotional events on both the Wilf and Beren campuses. Unlike last year’s campaign, there were also promotions made on the graduate school and high school campuses. All donations collected during the first 22 hours were doubled by donors, while donations during the last two hours were quadrupled. Donations continued to come in after the alloted 24 hours and count towards the overall totals of the day.

According to the Giving Day website, money raised will help fund the 27 YU schools and programs at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels. The largest single donation was $200,000, and 104 donations given for the senior class gift, surpassing the 100 donor goal.

“What we are trying to do is marry the bigger philanthropists with the crowd in a way that is engaging for the students and the community,” said Alyssa Herman Vice President of Institutional Advancement.

The student engagement that Herman imagined came from the campaign theme, YU Hero, which was made in salute to the heroic nature of the students and faculty of YU. Students of all the YU institutions were encouraged to nominate their own YU Hero and post about it on social media using the hashtag #YUHero. The YU Hero theme also included social media challenges, a new feature for this year’s campaign, and free swag with a minimum donation of $5.

The main fundraising event was a telethon held in Weissberg Commons on the Wilf Campus on Wednesday night. The phones were manned by YU employees and student volunteers from both undergraduate campuses. At the telethon there were snacks, games and free Carlos & Gabby’s sandwiches for the volunteers. President Ari Berman and a number of the donor matchers also spent time in Belfer hall.

“I think giving day is really important because it provides a forum for hakarat hatov for all the wonderful individuals and leaders at YU that are dedicated to improving and enhancing our institution,” said Stern College for Women student Elen-Sarrah Dolgopolskaia. “I think the social media aspect and swag prizes is a great was to create a fun environment to raise money”

In response to questions about this year’s low expectations relative to the $5 million goal of last year’s campaign which brought in $6 million, Herman explained that the main difference is the time of year. While last year’s campaign was in December, the heart of giving season, this year’s took place in April, the start of the fiscal year.

Though she has participated in and ran many fundraisers in the past, Herman was excited for the “student army” that comes from running a campaign for an educational institution.

Photo Credit: YU Flickr