Texting to Teach Students About Philanthropy

Posted on 06/03/2015

Text PhilExplaining philanthropy to students requires some creative thinking, which is why the annual giving team at The University of North Carolina at Wilmington launched its Phil Campaign. Short for Philanthropy, “Phil” is a fictional character created by the annual giving team as a way to teach students about philanthropy.

One of the most innovative parts of the Phil campaign is the text trivia program. Based on an app developed by two faculty members, students can register to receive a text message every other week. It’s sent on Thursday after lunch and includes a multiple-choice question about philanthropy at the university. Every student who responds with the correct answer is eligible to win a prize, which has been donated by a local business. All prizes are worth $50 or more.

“Text trivia has been a great way to educate students about philanthropy. It not only helps to deliver important information to students, but it lets us know that they’re learning the things we want them to know about,” said Missy Kennedy, Director of Annual Giving at UNC Wilmington. “More than 80% of the students respond with a correct answer each time.”

Another unexpected benefit of the program is that it has given the annual giving team a way to collect mobile phone numbers from students – something that will help the office stay connected long after they graduate and become alumni.

Here’s a sample question: Thousands of alumni give to UNCW every year. Which class do you think had the most donors last year?

  1. Class of 2012
  2. Class of 1988
  3. Class of 1954

The correct answer is #1. Even though recent graduates are new in their careers, many still make UNCW a philanthropic priority.

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