Rutgers hits $1 million goal in 2nd annual Giving Day
International Giving Day began when the clock struck midnight on Nov. 29. And at Rutgers, the spirit of generosity was alive as well, with a University goal of raising more than $1 million and increasing alumni donations during the second annual Rutgers Giving Day.
Lauren Redfern, assistant director of Student Philanthropy, said alumni are asked for gifts every day, but Rutgers Giving Day is the one day a year to really harness support from former students.
Rutgers Giving Day fell on International Giving Tuesday, which is a movement following Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday to "help others remember that we also need to support those in need,” Redfern said.
Last year was the University’s first annual Giving Day, where more than $1.2 million were raised from more than 4,500 donors. This year, another $1 million was raised by Wednesday.
“We’re really excited to exceed those expectations by a lot. We’re definitely going to get there by the end of the night tonight,” she said.
Redfern credits the Rutgers University Foundation, the Annual Giving Office and the TAG (Teaching Annual Giving) team for the success of Rutgers Giving Day. All the teams began working six months ago to prepare for this day.
The TAG team is comprised of 40 students who are a part of the Giving Office. These students plan events such as TAG Day in April and teach students about philanthropy, Redfern said.
Joseph Looman, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences sophomore, is a member of the TAG team and participated in Rutgers Giving Day by handing out small boxes filled with chocolates and a note.
“It’s fun seeing people get a smile put on their face when they open the box up,” he said.
Rutgers Giving Day is a collaborative effort of all the teams working together, Redfern said
“It’s really a team effort for us, along with the entire University,” she said. “Along with the entire University, we really had to partner with our schools and units across the University. We’re here in New Brunswick, Camden, Newark, RBHS all having student events today and making sure everyone know about Giving Day.”
Rutgers Giving Day worked to incorporate social media in their donations, by allotting $20,000 to be donated for social media challenges.
Challenges included the BFF Challenge, where a student could post a picture on Twitter or Facebook with their best friend at Rutgers. The Stop By Challenges called on students to visit the student centers and take a selfie.
The social media challenges allow students and alumni to win extra dollars for areas that they care about at the University throughout the day, Redfern said.
“Social media is a huge component of making (Rutgers Giving Day) so successful,” she said. “I think for students, for them to not even make a gift, but make a difference in the area they care about by doing something they do all day long— by snapping selfies.”
The theme of this year’s Giving Day is painting the University scarlet. Students participated by painting R’s onto canvases if they attended any of the community engagement events.
After Rutgers Giving Day is over, Redfern said the plan is to make a big pic-collage of all the canvases to show alumni how the students participated.
“I think our alumni are really going to love seeing students making their first gift,” Redfern said. “That’s so powerful.”
There were also 10 paint cans hidden around campus for students to find. The paint cans contained a Rutgers Giving Day shirt, and students who found it were asked to take selfies with them, post it to social media and tag a person or group they care about to win an extra $250.
Redfern said many of the staff are working 24 hours for Giving Day, from midnight on Tuesday to Wednesday.
She said she is happy and proud of all the donations coming into the University and the success Rutgers Giving Day has garnered in its two years.
“I’m proud of our Rutgers alumni community, I’m proud of our student community, our friends, faculty and staff,” she said. “They’re really painting the day scarlet today and reminding us all why we are a part of this community."
Sophie Nieto-Munoz is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies and Italian. She is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum. You can find her on Twitter @snietomunoz for more.
Chloe Dopico is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science and journalism and media studies. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum.