From its original Riviera home to its current location on a former Marine base overlooking the ocean, and from small teachers’ college to University of California research and rankings powerhouse, UC Santa Barbara’s backstory is well known.
But what about the infinite other stories that together comprise the institution’s ongoing narrative? Whether it’s how they got here, what they did here, or how their time here enabled their achievements in the world beyond, every student and every faculty and staff member — past and present — has a UCSB tale to share. So do countless parents, visiting researchers, community members and more.
Celebrating those stories while crafting a new chapter — all with an eye toward the future — UCSB will hold its Give Day 2018 event Thursday, April 12. The 24-hour “digital pep rally” will employ social media and other digital tools to unite the university’s many communities around their UCSB connections and experiences, while engaging donors and raising donations.
“We are tremendously excited for our second campus Give Day,” said Beverly Colgate, UCSB’s associate vice chancellor for development. “This will be a day full of university pride shared among alumni, parents, friends, staff, faculty and especially our students. Our hope is to once again engage thousands in a conversation of giving and advocacy, highlighting the stories of UC Santa Barbara and the people who create those memories. This is much more than a fundraising effort. It is an opportunity to connect and feel the Gaucho spirit — it’s an event no one should miss.”
Designed to ignite participation and inspire donations, Give Day leverages the digital space to engage people where they are and attract attention from those less likely to respond to traditional mail or phone solicitations. The event brings together alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends, fostering a sense of community by encouraging participants to share their memories and love of campus. A slate of pop-up events happening at locations across campus on April 12 is meant to generate excitement among current students, staff and faculty, plus raise visibility for this emerging means of sparking philanthropic support for UCSB.
The university made its official entrée into digital fundraising with its inaugural Give Day in 2016, hoping to reach alumni in their regular hangouts and foster closer and long-term engagement with campus. It worked.
The 2016 campaign generated $3.7M in private donations over 24 hours. In that same time period, UCSB achieved a 30-percent increase in new donors — 83 percent of them alumni, a key constituency. Further, Give Day 2016 revealed Gauchos’ penchant for digital engagement — Facebook and Twitter posts exceeded 100,000 in a single day and 1,268 donors gave on Give Day.
Those results told their own UCSB story: alumni are not only reconnecting in growing numbers, they are increasingly investing in their alma mater. With its 2018 iteration, UCSB aims to exceed — in dollars raised and in digital participation — the performance of its inaugural Give Day.
“The entire Gaucho alumni family, from coast to coast and around the world, are going to make this Give Day a memorable event,” said George Thurlow, UCSB assistant vice chancellor for alumni affairs and a 1973 sociology alumnus. “We all have stories about the inspiration this university gave us. On Give Day we will memorialize those memories.”