SMWC's inaugural WoodsGivingDay huge success

December 7th, 2015 | SMWC

Mikayla Metheny
SMWC student Mikayla Metheny poses in the photo booth for some WoodsGivingDay fun, complete with "photobomb" by SMWC President Dottie King, Ph.D.

Voices expressing thanks, the chattering of donations, popcorn popping, cheers erupting as the total count continued to rise – these were the sounds in the WoodsGivingDay command center, or the Ariens Atrium of the Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center on Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) campus. SMWC held its inaugural WoodsGivingDay on Giving Tuesday, December 1, 2015 and raised $48,712 in 24 hours. A phoneathon, social media hashtag campaign and on-campus activities all contributed to the success of the day.

“I gave to the Woods because this place has truly changed my life, and I want to help future generations the way those before me have helped me,” stated SMWC student Mikayla Metheny. “I want to see this place grow for many years and if my giving can help do that, then that is what I will continue to do. I'm a student who sincerely loves The Woods and I want others to experience what I have.”

Faculty, staff and alums set up in the Knoerle Center on campus to make thank you calls to donors, phone calls asking for donations and social media posts to raise funds for WoodsGivingDay. Students, alums and friends of the College were encouraged to stop by for free popcorn, to take selfies in the photo booth and to make a donation.

“There are so many opportunities to give in this community and we are so appreciative that people chose to give to The Woods.  Because of the gifts we receive we are able to make a real difference in the lives of our students,” said Susan Turner, senior director of advancement and alumni relations.

SMWC set a goal of 175 unique donors in honor of the College’s 175th anniversary and surpassed that goal with 265 unique donors in 24 hours. The breakdown of those unique donors was as follows: 200 alums, 25 faculty/staff, 32 friends and 8 students. Young alums and students were encouraged to give $18.40 in honor of the founding year of the College; thirty-six gifts of that amount were donated.

One anonymous donor committed to a $10,000 donation if the 175-donor goal was met. Other challenges included entry into a raffle for SMWC swag bags and blankets to anyone who donated over $25 and students who donated $18.40 or more; and for alums donating over $500, entry into a raffle for a free Reunion weekend. Nearly 80 percent of the funds raised went directly to the Woods Fund, which supports student scholarships, facility enhancements, faculty and staff enrichment, technology advancements, student services and more.

In its fourth year, Giving Tuesday is a national event to encourage giving back after the biggest shopping weekend of the year. #GivingTuesday is a hashtag campaign for the global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Piggybacking off of this national initiative, SMWC developed the hashtag campaign #WoodsGivingDay to promote the day and encourage gifts.

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