Using March Madness to Inspire Young Alumni Giving
March is a pretty important time. It’s when spring begins, when we celebrate women’s history month, and when the best teams in college basketball compete for the national title in a tournament that’s become known as March Madness.
At SUNY Oswego, March is also when GOLD alumni (i.e., Graduates of the Last Decade) are challenged to increase their participation in the annual fund. They call it March Matchness.
The rules are simple. The annual fund sets a goal of securing a specific number of GOLD donors in March. If the goal is reached, then a generous donor (who’s often a recent graduate) agrees to award a prize in the form of a leadership level donation to the university.
In the first year alone, the goal was surpassed by over 25%, doubling the amount of money raised and tripling the number of March gifts from recent graduates compared to the previous year. What’s even more impressive is that, in every year since the challenge started, half of each year’s GOLD donors give in March.
Joy Knopp, SUNY Oswego’s Director of Annual Giving, describes March Matchness as “a great way to get GOLD alumni engaged and motivated to make a gift. Since the focus is on participation rather than gift size, many alumni make a symbolic gift to honor their class year. For example, members of the class of 2011 are encouraged to donate $20.11.”
She adds, “When looking for a March Matcher (i.e., the challenge donor) we typically start with members of the 10th Reunion Class. It’s particularly special to make a significant gift in a reunion year that’s also their last year as GOLD.”
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