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How Well Do You Know PHIL?
How Well Do You Know PHIL?

Correct answers to philanthropy trivia yield big prizes for North Carolina university students

By Laura Stall


What’s the best way to reach young people?

Through their mobile devices, of course. That’s the beauty of the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s PHIL Text Trivia—by texting philanthropy trivia questions, the institution is putting information about the importance of giving right into students’ hands.

Through the Office of Annual Giving’s PHIL (short for philanthropy) Text Trivia campaign, students opt in to the bimonthly quiz for the chance to score prizes. Previous philanthropy education efforts focused on senior class giving, but the texts allow the university to inform more students about how private support enhances their campus experience, says Keith Fraser, assistant director of annual giving.

Multiple choice questions include: Who makes annual phonathon fundraising calls for UNCW? (Student callers nicknamed “dubrai$ers.”) How many philanthropic donors gave to UNCW last year? (9,850.) True or False: Last year, UNCW donors gave a record-breaking $14.9 million in donations that benefited students. (True.)

Students who answer correctly receive a congratulatory text, and their names are entered into a drawing for local restaurant gift cards, concert tickets, and other prizes. About 1,000 students subscribe to the contest, with around 300 participating in each trivia broadcast. About 75 percent answer correctly, and those who don’t receive a reply text with the right answer and an explanation. At the end of the day, the winner is announced via text message and on PHIL’s Facebook page. The answer to the trivia question is also shared.

Fraser hopes that the quiz inspires students to give as alumni. The program is designed to help make that a reality, “allowing us to capture students’ cell phone numbers to ensure we remain in contact after graduation,” Fraser says. UNCW has collected more than 1,400 cell phone numbers, and the contact rate for the senior class giving phonathon increased by 8 percent in the four years after the texting program launched. 

About the Author Laura Stall

Laura Stall was a fall 2016 Currents editorial intern.




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