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Saint Mary’s to host 24-hour Donor Challenge to raise funds for College

| Thursday, February 24, 2022

Saint Mary’s will be hosting its 10th annual 24-hour Donor Challenge Thursday to raise unrestricted funds for the College. Being “unrestricted,” the College can use these funds however it needs to.

Donor Challenge is a fundraising drive aimed to collect donations from from all affinity groups in the Saint Mary’s community, which includes faculty, staff, friends, parents, students and alumnae of the College. It derives its name from the multiple fundraising goals the event has planned for Thursday, which, if achieved, unlock a large swath of funds from major donors for the College.

“We’re trying to get ‘X’ amount of donors before noon. Once we reach that, an extra amount of money is unlocked that goes towards the Saint Mary’s Fund,” Saint Mary’s assistant director of annual giving Nathan Stroup said. “With that, there’s a lot of energy leading up to it.”

The “unlocked” money, Stroup explained, comes from major donors for the College who donate to the Fund once the goals are achieved.

The challenges target each affinity group as well as the overall Noon Challenge, which unlocks $30,000 in funds for the College if the Challenge receives donations from 1844 donors — a reference to the year Saint Mary’s was founded. If each Challenge goal is met by 11:59 p.m. Thursday, the College will unlock $100,000 in extra donations.

The focus on quantity of donors over total money raised adds to the excitement of Donor Challenge senior and Donor Challenge committee member Ellie Gibney said.

“It’s not about how much you give, but it’s how many people give,” she said. “Which I think is a fun part because every time people hear donations, its like, ‘I don’t want to give money,’ but you know, you can give one dollar it’s still great for you to be able to participate.”

Students are strategically important targets in fundraising for the event, sophomore and committee member Kat Hannon said.

“Our bosses have told us that if students give or if students donate now when they’re actually in college, they are a lot more likely to keep giving in the future,” she said.

The 2022 Challenge will feature an expansive use of social media to garner wider excitement for the fundraiser.

Stroup emphasized Facebook Live in raising alumnae participation.

“With Facebook Live, our hope is that it will be a wider audience for the entire Saint Mary’s community ultimately to come together, which is what Donor challenge really is geared behind,” he said.

The co-chairs also highlighted the role of social media in garnering student excitement around the challenge.

“The Instagram @bellesgiveback has been working pretty hard on creating fun posts and exciting posts and engaging posts to try to just get that enthusiasm going,” Hannon said.

Gibney also mentioned using mobile apps to make donating easier for students.

“This year is exciting because we were able to bring Venmo donations back, which is obviously great for college students,” she said.

Along with a heavy online presence, Donor Challenge leaders hope to excite the campus Thursday with on-campus events.

“We’ll have tables set up in the dining hall and other areas around campus where students visit a lot,” Hannon said. “And the point is just to have interactions with students. Let them know what’s going on and hopefully make it really easy for them to donate if they want to spread the word.”

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About Liam Price

Liam Price is a first year Gateway student from Lambertville, New Jersey. He intends to major in political science, and is currently serving as a New Writer Editor for The Observer.

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