Students and alumni give back in Day of Giving

By Jacqueline Yapaola
Correspondent

The College hosted its second annual Day of Giving on Thursday, Nov. 3, and received more than $132,225 from 1,044 donors.

While the event took place all over the world, Alumni Grove was the donation hub complete with alumni, faculty and student volunteers who encouraged students to participate in the fun.

There was music as well as several activities set up for students and alumni to enjoy, including a photo booth with Roscoe the Lion, the opportunity to take a selfie with a Campus Police officer as part of the #SelfiesforSafety campaign and donate $5 to spin a prize wheel and win some College gear. These activities, along with the volunteers’ enthusiasm, encouraged passing students to donate and show their support for the College.   

A big part of the fundraising also took place on the internet. The staff behind the event implemented a new fundraising tactic this year — a social media campaign called TCNJ Pride.

The platform’s website allows students, faculty and alumni to sign up to be a TCNJ Pride Advocate, where they can share links on their own social media.

Those who signed up were encouraged to use three hashtags, #OneDayTCNJ, #TCNJPride and #RoarMore, to help get the word out. Advocates could spread the word to their friends and earn points to rank up against other students on a leaderboard.

“People were sort of competitive in a good way,” said Melissa Lide, associate director of Annual Giving. “It created a really positive energy and buzz about promoting the Day of Giving.”

Lide said the use of social media helped extend the outreach of the event to alumni and increased the peer-to-peer outreach within the College.

The main goal of this year’s Day of Giving was to reach 1,000 donors  twice as much as last year but it actually exceeded its goal with 1,044 donors who contributed more than $132,225 to the College.

The Class of 1976 tops the leaderboard with 26 individual donors.
The Class of 1976 tops the leaderboard with 26 individual donors. (tcnj.edu)

“It’s not the amount that matters, it’s the support of the donors,” said Vickie Wang, annual giving graduate assistant and a school counseling graduate student.

Donors had the opportunity to give their money to any cause of their choice within the College. They could give to any of the academic schools, specific projects, clubs or TCNJ Funds, which contributes to the general needs of the College.

“We’ve always encouraged people to donate where they want to see their impact made,” Lide said.

Some of the academic schools plan on putting the money they received toward their own projects. For example, donations to the School of Nursing, Health and Exercise Science went to the Teaching with Technology project. Contributions to the School of Arts and Communication went toward the school’s Social Justice Project, while the School of Business funded an NYC Finance Forum Project.

Alumni, faculty and students were also motivated by sub-challenges set by the organizers of the event. If a certain goal was achieved, a gift would be unlocked. Some of the sub-challenges included an additional $5,000 if 70 graduates from the ’70s donated to any projects, $5,000 if 25 students posted selfies with Campus Police using #SelfiesForSafety and $10,000 if 100 donors contribute to the School of Business’s NYC Finance Forum Project.

The event raised thousands of dollars to help support the College, but more importantly, it showcased students’ and alumni’s pride in the College.

The Day of Giving is held to “raise money, but also to raise awareness to give back to your alma mater,” said Karen Paterson, Community Relations and Communications coordinator.

Lide believes the day was also a good way to bring the College community together.

“It was about an entire community coming together,” Lide said. “TCNJ is a special place because of the community, and this was an instance of that.”