Fundraising Programs

Judges Report 

  Annual Giving Programs

13 Entries

Gold Award

Davidson College (North Carolina) - The Fund for Davidson

  • The Davidson College Fund for Davidson-formerly the Annual Fund-had an exciting fiscal year 2016, which ended June 30, 2016. The college's $425 million capital campaign launched in November of 2014, so this second public year of the campaign provided new opportunities on the annual giving side. In addition to annual dollar and participation goals, they continued to build upon their work with crowdfunding platform, GiveCampus, to bring continued energy to the third year of a one-day challenge, "All in for Davidson," which secured more than $763,000 from 2,727 donors in a single 24-hour period. The college further engaged volunteers around class giving and reunion giving, with several class goals surpassed during the year.

Silver Award

Georgia Southern University - Vote for Southern: A Day for Southern Employee Giving Campaign

  • Georgia Southern capitalized on the elections to drive engagement for their annual employee giving campaign

Bronze Award

Imperial College of London (United Kingdom) - Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Christmas Appeal

In November 2016, Imperial created the first ever direct mail appeal for the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative. The pack had the feel of an impact report, thanking donors for their previous support while highlighting the number of people in sub-Saharan Africa who still need treatment. Many of the donors to the SCI lack knowledge of the disease and the college's work, as they give because it is highly rated for cost-effectiveness on sites like Givewell rather than personal affinity. And so they also included information on how treatment works and how the SCI plans to achieve its goals.

Principal, Major and Special Giving Programs

9 Entries

Gold Award

University of California, Davis - Graduate Student Fellowship Matching Initiative

  • The creation of this unique fundraising initiative flips the idea of a traditional matching program on its head. Unlike most matching initiatives where the funds are matched 1:1 to the initial gift amount, this model takes an exceptional approach when growing the value of the endowment. Instead of simply matching funds received, Graduate Studies has matched the expected payout after the fund has doubled in value. This allows the UC Davis Foundation (UCDF) to reinvest, rather than payout, back into the fund, allowing the endowment to double in half the time. The typical endowment takes approximately thirty years to double in value. Under this matching initiative, the endowment doubles in twelve years, doubling the payout in less than half the time.

Silver Award

Ball State University (IndianaPaul W. Parkison Legacy Campaign: Connecting Volunteers, Campus Partners, and Development Professionals to Advance the Department of Accounting 

  • Ball State University launched a $3 million major gift campaign in 2015, titled the Paul W. Parkison Legacy Campaign. This effort was a success due to detailed planning and a "big idea" tied to honoring a beloved professor and mentor to many. Development collaborated with enthusiastic volunteers and academic partners to deploy a multi-channel approach to engage alumni and friends to support the campaign.

Bronze Award

Bossier Parish Community College (Louisiana) BPCC Major Gifts Campaign, "Building Success Together"

  • The "Building Success Together" Campaign was the first Capital Campaign in the 50-year history of the College. The campaign was in response to five consecutive years of budget cuts in state operating funds, despite Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) being named the "Fastest Growing Community College in the Nation (in it's category by Community College Weekly, an independent publication) three years in a row (2012-2014).

Targeted Campaigns 

38 Entries

Gold Award

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor - Faculty, Staff & Retiree Give from Within Campaign

  • Based upon research and a groundwork established throughout the first two years of the Victors for Michigan campaign, the Office of University Development (OUD) launched Give from Within, an initiative supporting the Victors for Michigan campaign, to enhance the culture of philanthropy among faculty, staff and retirees at the University of Michigan. The objectives of the initiative were to increase giving participation rate, dollars raised, and improve the donor experience for faculty, staff and retirees.

Silver Award

Woodberry Forest School  (Virginia)  - A Week for Woodberry

  • A Week for Woodberry was a five-day, mini-campaign held late in March 2016, to inspire increased gifts by alumni to the Amici Fund, Woodberry Forest's annual fund, and to raise awareness of how the Amici Fund supports the school. Woodberry has a well-established culture of philanthropy and proudly claims one of the nation's highest participation rates by alumni in its annual fund. The Amici Fund provides approximately 11 percent of the school's operating budget each year, supporting the "people and programs" so important to the Woodberry experience. However, the annual fund is a "mature" fund - many of the alumni who support it do so at the same level, year after year. The best way to "grow" the Amici Fund is with larger annual gifts. Hence, the primary goal of A Week for Woodberry was to inspire 900 alumni to increase their gifts to the Amici Fund by 5 percent or more. Inspiration came in the form of this simple challenge issued by a group of eleven alumni leaders from different generations: If 900 alumni increased their Amici gifts by 5 percent or more by the end of the five-day campaign, the challenge donors would contribute $150,000 to the Amici Fund. The campaign was a huge success, thanks to Woodberry's robust network of class agent volunteers.

Towson University (Maryland) - Towson University's Food Insecurity Support Fund

  • The objective of this fund is to provide immediate assistance to a students who are food-insecure and to do so nearly anonymously. The student only speaks to the Program Director, and if the PD determines the student meets the criteria, dollars are placed on the student's One-Card. He or she can then use the card to purchase meals at any TU's dining hall.

    Towson University is addressing the rise of food insecurity head-on while removing the "stigma" that may come from using a voucher on campus. 1,117 donors, nearly half of whom were current students, donated more than $25,000--providing more than 2,500 meals.

Flash Campaigns

27 Entries

Gold Award

Miami University (Ohio)  - #MoveInMiami

  • The 2016 #MoveInMiami campaign, a participation-driven effort in its third year, set an initial goal of attaining 2,020 donors in 20 hours and 20 minutes to honor the incoming first-year class. The goal was surpassed by more than 200 percent, with 4,123 donors making gifts of all sizes and to all areas of Miami's campus. In all, the effort unlocked $200,000 in matching gift challenges and raised $1,008,500 for more than 300 designations campus-wide. Driven largely through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other online applications, #MoveInMiami recorded 10.2 million social media impressions.

Silver Award

Grinell College (Iowa)- Scarlet and Give Back Day

  • Scarlet & Give Back Day was created as a strategy to capture the attention of constituents through social media and email marketing. by creating a day that put the "fun" into fundraising at Grinnell and made fundraising an approachable topic.

Bronze Award

Ohio Northern University  -2016 ONU Founder's Day Challenge

  • ONU used the likeness of its founder H.S. Lehr as the primary imagery for their Founder's Day Challenge. The goal was to be both respectful to what he means to this University, and also make him accessible to current students and young alumni. Since Lehr's face was everywhere, and since Lehr's face features a tremendous long beard, that became a defining theme. At the on-campus Founder's Day celebration, students posed for selfies with a beard-on-a-stick and posted them to social media. Lehr's superbeard also became the online progress tracker throughout the day. As they raised more money, his beard grew longer and longer.

Emerging Programs

20 Entries

Gold Award

University of St. Andrews (United Kingdom) - Relaunching direct mail campaigns at the University of St. Andrews

  • St. Andrews relaunched direct mail appeals as part of a radical transformation of their programme in order to improve results and re-engage donors. As a result of this transformation exceptional increases in engagement and donations were achieved.

Silver Award

Concordia College (Minnesota)- Young Alumni Giving Challenge

  • The Young Alumni Giving Challenge targeted the last five graduating classes of Concordia College and honed the interests of that group, specifically using social media as the catalyst for collecting donations.The program greatly increased the giving rate of  recent graduates and engaged over 100 new donors. This was an inexpensive campaign that yielded strong results.

University of North Texas - Diamond Eagles

  • This emerging program is in its founding year and is being led by the University's First Lady, Deborah Smatresk. Diamond Eagles is open to any UNT community member who donates $1,000 or more to the Diamond Eagles Excellence Fund. Gifts must be made by the end of the calendar year in order to qualify for the biggest benefit of the program: members vote to decide which project to fund in the following year. A list of worth-while projects are picked by University Leadership, which is then given to the members for the vote. The project that receives the most votes will get funded by the Diamond Eagles. Notably, once word got out that members of the program could vote to steer the spearhead of their collective fundraising efforts, multiple memberships per household/family emerged.

Challenge Grant & Matching Gift Programs

9 Entries

Gold Award

University of Essex (United Kingdom) - Click Crowdfunding Platform

  • Click has exceeded all of Essex's expectations and a significant part of its success has been the provision of matched funding. Students are able to approach prospective donors confident that with match funding in place, their project is much more likely to succeed. For those new to fundraising this support and confidence is invaluable.

Silver Award

Rice University (Texas) - 24-Hour Leap Day Challenge

  • The 24-Hour Challenge (2016) was designed to inspire the Rice community to come together for a grand and visionary call-to-action. February 29th, leap day, was chosen both to signify the leap that Rice would make in participation and to call to mind Rice's historical and still important ties to space exploration. John F. Kennedy declared that the country will go to the moon at Rice Stadium in 1962. The 24-Hour Challenge aspired to harness the same feeling of collective endeavor. To build on the feeling of community, Rice expanded the 24-Hour Challenge audience from only undergraduate alumni, as was the case in previous challenges, to graduating seniors, graduate alumni, and parents. Having a broader base demanded that Rice set its donor goal higher than ever before, which added to the feeling of making history. They more than doubled their 2,400 donor goal from the previous challenge to an ambitious 5,000 in a single day, and the Board of Trustees pledged to commit a $500,000 matching gift.

Villanova University (Pennsylvania)- The Senior Class Gift: CHALLENGE accepted!

  • Villanova worked to form the May Family Match, a Senior Class Gift (SCG) challenge to motivate and incentivize seniors to make their first gift to Villanova University in 2016 with the additional support of a Villanova family who gave $100 in honor of every senior who made their gift.Prior to 2016, there had been other SCG challenges, but by leveraging the relationship with major gift officers, Villanova identified prospects interested in working with students to inspire the beginning of their philanthropy. The May family jumped at the opportunity. It was a new way to make a major gift to the University, work with students, and also to receive some unique perks by sharing their story along the way. This included coverage on the SCG website, social media, the Villanova magazine, the Villanovan (campus newspaper), and the Commencement booklet.


26 Entries

Gold Award

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Building the Future Together: Land O'Lakes and the University of Minnesota-an online resource for updates about the dynamic partnership between Land O'Lakes and the University of Minnesota

  • The University of Minnesota (UM) has developed a strong partnership with Land O'Lakes, one of America's premier agribusiness and food companies. In fall 2014, Land O'Lakes announced a landmark, ten-year investment of $25 million in programs supporting the UM mission and strategically chosen to grow the company's talent. Using existing resources, UMF's first blog-style stewardship website was launched in 2016 to keep Land O'Lakes leaders and employees apprised of the gift's significant impact across the UM system, and to show the footprint of the entire relationship. Direct feedback from Land O'Lakes and site-use data both show that the site has become an important stewardship connection point.

Silver Award

The University of Bristol (United Kingdom)- Loyal Donor Bookplate Stewardship Communication

  • The University of Bristol created a new stewardship communication to be sent to loyal donors who had given for the last three years or more. In addition to thanking them for their ongoing support, they were invited to write a message of encouragement or advice to current Bristol students on an enclosed bookplate that would be placed in books in the library for hundreds of students to see and be inspired by for years to come. The response to the mailing was overwhelming. 27 responded with a completed bookplate. More than 1,000 hand written, unique and personal messages were returned from alumni and supporters of all ages. They contained words of wisdom, advice, encouraging notes, Bristol memories and uplifting quotes.

Bronze Award

University of California Santa Cruz  - Philanthropy in Pursuit of a Healthier Planet 2014/2015

  • The generosity of the Helen and Will Webster Foundation has had dramatic impact at UC Santa Cruz. Their support has created new programs and classes, rebuilt a barn into an environmental center, established five endowed chairs in five different areas, and endowed a college in the name of environmental pioneer Rachel Carson.
  • The Websters are active volunteers and see the impact of their giving with each new focus, but UCSC wanted to create something that encompassed the full range of the results of their generosity. Something they could choose to share with other family members and which did not feel like a capstone marking the end of their giving. The stewardship team created a unique storybook-an 8" x 10" hardcover, 40-page visual book-that frames their giving through an environmental lens, that not only honors the direct impact of their gifts, but its ripple effect on the university. Their philanthropy can be tied to additional millions of dollars from others, sometimes in unexpected ways. And its impact has been felt far beyond the university-which was captured through the voices of such cultural leaders as Alice Waters, of lawmakers and public policy experts, of academic leaders and students.

Amherst College (Massachusetts)- #AlwaysAmherst Photo Campaign

  • In June of 2016 Amherst launched a photo campaign to steward  loyal year-end donors and foster a sense of community and connection to today's campus. As part of the campaign, alumni were invited to reflect on their favorite place on the Amherst College campus and note that place in the comments section of the online giving form. In return, student photographers took a photo of the favorite place as it looks today and sent it along with a personalized thank you note. This simple concept inspired 2,682 people to make a gift to Amherst, 775 of which requested a photo of campus and received personal outreach from student interns. Throughout the campaign, alumni shared powerful stories of their time on campus; the first year quad where they met their future spouse, their dorm room where they shared late nights with friends, or a classroom where a professor inspired them.