Leaping up to, catapulting over and exploding through records, the Feb. 29 #LeapForHamilton challenge was a monumentally successful fundraising effort with the support of alumni, students, parents, friends and employees. The challenge, to reach 1,812 gifts, was met at 5:23 p.m., but enthusiasm and generosity continued to mount. By day’s end, 2,868 gifts totaled $900,313, representing 158 percent of the original 1,812 donor goal. This marks a single-day giving record by a factor of more than four and exceeds the total number of gifts in any single month in Hamilton’s history.
‘Our alumni and parent volunteers, class leaders, and really the entire college community came through for us in a big way. They built and sustained momentum throughout the campaign,” said Director of Annual Giving Fred Rogers. Seventy-three percent of all gifts came from alumni followed by 12 percent from parents, 5 percent from employees, 4 percent from friends and 3 percent from students.
The day was made possible by the coordinated teamwork of dozens of alumni, parents, students, staff, faculty, and athletic teams and coaches. They made calls, used their social media accounts to solicit friends, posted photos, and taped and participated in videos.
The entire effort was supported and coordinated through the website GiveCampus, a social fundraising and engagement platform that blends models similar to crowdfunding, peer-to-peer fundraising and social networking. “It provided a real-time counter and easy-to-use interface, and … [it] helped harness all the social media activity of our volunteers, which was critical,” explained Tim O’Keeffe, Senior Director of Interactive Media.
Trustee Aron Ain ’79, P’09,’11 pledged a $100 match for every gift – regardless of size – for the first 2,000 gifts. When that landmark total was exceeded, trustee Jack Selby ’96 stepped forward to continue matching every gift with $100 to achieve a new target — 2,500 gifts — which, when reached, led to Selby’s extension of his original offer. He continued to match all additional gifts with a $100 donation throughout the evening until the challenge ended at 2,868 gifts.
Of the top 10 participating classes, all were from the GOLD (graduates of the last decade) group. Impressively, the class of 2016, a few months away from graduation, ranked #6 on this list. Gifts came from every state except four: Oklahoma, Montana, South Dakota and Arkansas. The oldest participating class was 1945. An on-campus s’more stand drew in more than 100 contributions from passersby.
“The Hamilton team produced compelling visuals and engaging social-media content that drove home our message and had clear calls to action. It all created a good buzz, and our community ran with it, in addition to posting a lot of their own content,” O’Keeffe summarized.
Campaign content was posted on the College's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn pages and groups. Nine videos, including one featuring President Stewart, were deployed on different channels, O'Keeffe said. Twitter exploded, with 52,011 impressions on the main College page stemming from 49 tweets.