Structuring a Student Philanthropy Week
For educational institutions, building a culture of philanthropy begins by teaching students about the importance of donor support and showing them how it can make a difference in the life of their institution. The reason students go to school is to learn. It’s hard to imagine a more opportune time to teach them about philanthropy than while they’re right there on campus.
Borrowing the idea from another institution, The University of Central Florida Foundation found a way to teach students about philanthropy that is both clever and engaging. As part of their celebration of Student Philanthropy Week, they created a daily theme that encouraged students to think about and take part in a unique aspect of philanthropy. Since each theme shared a common suffix, each theme is playfully referred to an “ation.”
- Education Day – Students were given token gifts (e.g., mugs, apparel) with printed facts or statistics related to philanthropy and its impact on the university.
- Appreciation Day – Students were asked to produce handwritten thank you notes to donors. The Foundation provided stationary, lists, bullet points and a place to write.
- Participation Day – Students were asked to make their own gift of $19.63 in honor of the founding year of the university.
- Celebration Day – Students celebrated the week’s end by signing a banner and displaying it in the Student Union. They were also invited to attend a Philanthropy Symposium of donors that was moderated by the Student Philanthropy Council Chair.
Offering structure to the week’s events not only gave students a variety of different ways to get involved and learn, but it allowed the foundation staff to do a more thorough job of teaching about important topics, and not simply glossing over them in a generic way.
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