The NIU Foundation surpassed it’s $250,000 goal for the very first Day of Giving event by raising over $770,600 from 1,402 donors nationwide.
The money was raised by alumni, faculty and students who made donations to the NIU Day of Giving website. The donations support students, scholarships and programs at the university.
The College of Business raked in over $175,000, making them the category to raise the most money. The category who raised the most donations or gifts was a combination of student scholarships, in total, they raised 355 gifts.
Michael Adzovic, director of the Northern Fund, said promoting the event on social media played a role in the turnout of the event. Adzovic said for the first time ever, texts were sent to over 20,000 alumni notifying them information on the event.
Adzovic said the first Day of Giving event was successful due to the pride amongst the NIU community.
“We had very good collaborations with all of the various units around campus, seven academic colleges, the Huskie Food Pantry, the Founders Memorial Library and athletics,” Adzovic said. “All of those different pockets of our campus work together to fire up their networks and get the word out.”
Adzovic said another reason for the event’s success was the challenges and matching opportunities. The challenges were made from the ‘most generous donors’ and were unlocked once when a certain amount of money was raised or a certain amount of donors had donated.
Challenges such as the Scott Launch Challenge unlocked $100,000 for student scholarships from Dr. Tom Scott, who graduated in 1975. The College of Business Center for Digital Innovations and Data Analytics Match also unlocked $150,000 from OM&IS Board Chair Chris Millington and OM&IS Board Vice Chair Amit Patel to support the new College of Business Center for Digital Innovations and Data Analytics.
Adzovic said having the event before finals week next year may increase student turnout. He said around 50 students participated, 3.5% of donors, and considers it a success because the university has never engaged students through events like this before. He said planning the event at the end of March or early May might increase the number of student donors.
Improving the training of the Day of Giving Ambassadors is something the NIU Foundation hopes to work on for next years event, he said. Ambassadors shared messages online about the event before and during the Day of Giving. The Ambassadors were trained with a toolkit with sample posts and emails, according to the Day of Giving website.
“We had about 140 ambassadors,” Adzovic said. “If ambassadors were trained how to track how much money they’re raising and how many clicks they’re getting, we could’ve maybe seen even more money.”
Adzovic said it’s popular among colleges to have giving days and after excelling their goal of $250,000 from 1,000 donors, he’s looking forward to next year.
“[The Day of Giving] just shows how much the community cares about NIU and I’m very proud to be a part of it,” Adzovic said.