fundraising

Update: One Ball State giving day wins multiple awards

Brian GaworVice President of ResearchApril 17, 2020

Chad Warren contributed to this post.

Update: We’re excited to update this post, originally published in the spring of 2020, to report that Ball State’s One Ball State day won several awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, including:

  • Platinum award for Best Practices in Digital Communications
  • Honorable mention for Best Practices in Fundraising
  • Marketing on a Shoestring
  • Fundraising Pivot award
  • Best Practices in Annual Giving

Here’s what Lola Mauer at Ball State told us:

“Ball State University made history again with our 2020 One Ball State Day. This collaborative day of fundraising united Cardinals on campus and around the world. While things looked different due to the pandemic, the Ball State network showed up in a big way. Yes, we wondered what the outcome would be. Could we surpass the numbers of our inaugural giving day in 2019? Yes was the answer. Our alumni and donors made sure of that. One Ball State Day 2020 saw increases in giving from employees, parents and students – a feat considering we were remote. I still recall a handful of us socially distanced in the Alumni Center but never feeling alone since all of Cardinal Nation was with us. To have One Ball State Day recognized by CASE with 9 awards in two years is an honor I share with everyone who made gifts, posted on social media and showed our students and faculty that we are better together. “

Lola Mauer, Associate Vice President of Strategy, Ball State University

Here’s the original blog post and podcast with Lola so you can hear how One Ball State achieved this incredible recognition.

Fundraising Case Study: One Ball State Raises Over $500,000 Amidst COVID-19 crisis

As we navigated the uncertain times when the pandemic hit, a big question arose for many higher education fundraisers: What do we do with our spring or summer giving day? About half of higher education giving days are held between February and June, and they’ve really taken off in popularity. Many institutions rely on them for end of the year excitement, and to meet their important donor and dollar goals. In a recent RNL poll, most respondents told us that they have altered their giving day strategy due to the COVID-19 crisis.

But that doesn’t mean it’s time to cancel your giving day. A number of recent giving day successes have shown that it is possible to host an engaging, exciting, and even record setting giving day even in this economy and amidst the crisis. RNL’s Chad Warren and I sat down (virtually) with Lola Mauer, Associate Vice President of Strategy and two time alumnae of Ball State University on their record breaking “One Ball State Day” on April 7, which eclipsed over $511,000 from nearly 5,400 donors from all 50 states.

Give a listen to our Fundraising Voices podcast to hear Lola tell us about the day, and the team’s strategy going into the event.

Here are a few great things about One Ball State Day that made it a success on the RNL Giving Day platform.

One Ball State Day set a record for contributions on April 7, 2020.

Widespread community engagement amplifies giving day success

A great thing about One Ball State Day is the incredible number of involved, engaged and passionate ambassadors. From Deans stepping up with challenges to a highly engaged Ball State campus team, this made a big difference. Just one example is this great post by President Mearns about the success of the day.

Student are the focus, and also set a record for giving

In deciding whether to continue with the giving day, Ball State recognized that “The students need us now more than ever,” says Mauer. Messaging about the impact to students was key. And even though student giving wasn’t pushed heavily, the student body stepped up and set a record of over 700 gifts. The team reached out over social media to mention the impact of Ball State frontline caregivers, students in need, and donors responded.

Students challenged each other in a one hour competition and set a record.

There was also a vigorous competition for student giving, which was won by the student media group.

The Ball State team brings it all together for a record-setting event

“We had triple the employee ambassadors we had in 2019. So many of the faculty and staff rallied behind the Ball State community. I knew the community would come together, because that’s what Ball State is,” Mauer told us. Even while separated physically, the campus pulled together for the effort. This is a crucial part of giving day success.

“We know it takes an army to execute a day a day of giving even in the best of times,” says Chad Warren, Vice President and senior consultant at RNL. “Kudos to the Ball State team for pivoting and pulling off what was an incredible, impactful and community-uniting day.”

It also takes technology, from the ability to spotlight challenges and matches, a live map of where gifts have come from, and ambassador tracking and engagement. We’re proud that this successful giving day, hosted on the RNL Giving Day platform, powered by ScaleFunder. Ball State’s passionate and loyal donors are impressive. So is the effort of the giving team to engage the full community during this challenging time, and even though they couldn’t be in the same place, provide an opportunity for everyone to come together to support students, faculty and the programs they love at Ball State.

Want to apply these strategies to your giving day? Wondering the best path for your planned 2020 giving day? Contact us today and we’ll share what we’re hearing from your peers and strategies that have worked with the hundreds of giving days we’ve assisted.


About the Author

Brian Gawor

Brian Gawor’s focus is research and strategy to help propel both alumni engagement and fundraising results of RNL clients. Brian has 20 years of higher education experience in student affairs, enrollment management, alumni engagement and...

Read more about Brian's experience and expertise

Reach Brian by e-mail at Brian.Gawor@RuffaloNL.com.


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