Although UCSB formally joined the University of California over 70 years ago, 45 percent of its alumni graduated in the last 15 years.
To access the large, digitally active portion of UCSB’s alumni, the university is hosting “UCSB Give Day,” its first 24-hour online donation drive on Friday, to increase donor participation in student organizations, financial aid, scholarships and faculty research.
“Give Day is a 24-hour event using social media channels to digitally connect to our UCSB communities,” said Beverly Colgate, associate vice-chancellor. “It is also a concentrated outreach to our campus’ massive base of young alumni.”
According to Colgate, the university has raised “matching gifts” from donors to have their dollars match another donor’s area of passion, making fundraising more “personal.” If a donor contributes at a specific time, their donation can be matched with a campus organization of their choice.
“Our giving website will post the time intervals when these matching gifts are available for matching,” Colgate said. “A couple of our Gaucho celebrities gave matching gifts, too.”
“The inaugural effort is perhaps less about that single day as it is about what [Friday] will usher in: a whole new era of fundraising at UCSB,” — Beverly Colgate.
UCSB First will also be tabling in front of the library on Friday to discuss the significance of philanthropy on campus. The organization will hand out T-shirts and offer photo opportunities for students to learn about the social media campaign.
John Lofthus, UCSB Alumni Association associate director, said 60,000 students have graduated in the last ten years, and he hopes the young generation of alumni will digitally connect with the university, improving a nation-wide decline in percentage of alumni giving.
“Young alumni are proven to be very philanthropic, but they’re wanting to invest through their philanthropy for causes they really believe in,” Lofthus said. “For us, because having alumni support is critical, it’s trying to think about how can we do a better job of connecting with our alumni. And this is one of those ways we’re hoping to do that.”
An alumni group in London will be hosting their own Give Day at The Gaucho restaurant, showing how the event is reaching alumni “far and near,” Lofthus said.
Colgate said the “community is really ready for this,” and explained that Give Day has already prompted alumni to show support for UCSB on their own social networking sites.
“I cannot believe all the excitement I am seeing from our alumni, students and staff,” Colgate said in an email. “We have alumni who have volunteered to be “Digital Ambassadors” on Friday and proactively push the Give Day messaging through their social media channels.”
Online fundraising is “immediate,” Colgate said, and allows donors to choose specific areas for support that they are most passionate about.
“We have had an online giving site for many years, but this is the first UCSB Give Day where we focus on promoting online giving for 24 hours straight,” Colgate said in an email. “The inaugural effort is perhaps less about that single day as it is about what [Friday] will usher in: a whole new era of fundraising at UCSB.”
Madison Frame, UCSB First co-chair, said her goal is to engage people with UCSB Give not only by donating, but by participating in Friday’s events.
“UCSB First is leading the student engagement aspect of Give Day,” Frame said. “Our job is to get students excited about celebrating what an amazing feat it is that UCSB is hosting our first ever Give Day.”
Frame said she hopes the online aspect of the fundraiser will create an easy way for alumni to access the university.
“From a student perspective, I can predict that engaging online, whether that be via the official Give Day website, social media or word-of-mouth, will be an accessible way for students to get involved,” Frame said.
Colgate said she is proud the university is using technology to support the campus in a joint effort with students and alumni.
“Social media outreach is being used at many institutions, so we’re right in the middle of this wave,” Colgate said in an email. “This is a way to reach a constituency that is involved in non-traditional fundraising.”
UCSB Give Day will begin on Friday at 12 a.m. Interested participants can access the website at https://giveday.ucsb.edu.