Salisbury University’s annual Giving Day fundraising event returned its highest-ever donations total on Sept. 29, raising $213,165, including more than $60,000 in matching money, for a variety of campus causes, according to a recent Giving Day email.
Despite being rescheduled to the fall for the first time ever due to COVID-19, 1,865 donors still contributed to the 24-hour fundraising effort.
Students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of the university were only able to donate via Venmo and online submissions this year, rather than in-person, due to complications posed by the ongoing pandemic.
After overcoming those obstacles, including having a limited on-campus population and that many organizations to fundraise for are not currently meeting, about $10,000 more in raw donations were raised this year than SU’s 2019 Giving Day total, per Michelle Pryor, SU’s annual giving coordinator and an orchestrator of the event.
SU has now exceeded its previous Giving Day fundraising total every year since the event’s inception in 2017.
The new Giving Day website was also unveiled for the event to track leaderboards throughout the event of the highest-earning academic schools, student organizations and donor affiliations.
“I saw a lot of people engaging and really donating online that hadn't in the past, because people were able to see the gifts in the tracker. Every time [someone] refreshed the page, it would be a couple more gifts, a couple more dollars,” said Pryor.
“I think [the website] helps us moving into future Giving Days because we're not necessarily limiting [the event] to people who are going to walk past our table. We're really allowing people in other states to engage alumni who are across the country.”
Every donation made is sent in its entirety directly to its supported cause, with the organization, team or academic school able to allocate that money to its most urgent needs, such as practice space, travel costs or other necessary resources.
According to the Giving Day website leaderboards, the SU field hockey team towered over all other varsity athletic programs with more than a $10,000 total from the contributions of 120 donors, with the next-closest earner, the men’s lacrosse team, finishing at $4,575 raised before matching money.
SU’s College of Health and Human Services, meanwhile, had more than twice as many donors as any other academic school on campus, 270, despite having only two semesters of alumni since opening in the fall of 2018.
The 1,063 total participating alumni were the event’s most significant contributors, combining for over $82,000 raised during Giving Day.
Pryor praised the philanthropy of the former Seagulls, saying that “a few hundred extra alumni donors gave this year than last year, and for annual giving, we really are trying to encourage alumni to give … so that's a great trend for us.”
The fundraising turnaround will be quick, however, as SU’s 2021 Giving Day is still tentatively reserving its otherwise normally scheduled date of April 6.
Pryor believes an academic year with two Giving Days will have a tremendously positive impact on groups across campus.
“Hopefully this year will just be an incredible fundraising year for these clubs that maybe feel stalled, and then they'll be able to move into next year with a big pot of funds that they're able to improve their organizations with.”
To view the rest of the Giving Day leaderboards and individual donation breakdowns, visit https://givingday.salisbury.edu/pages/leaderboards-2035.
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image: Salisbury University Alumni Association Facebook page.