This Saturday marked the kick-off of a new campaign targeting University of Wisconsin alumni for donations to benefit the campus.
“Share the Wonderful” is a collaborative campaign between the Wisconsin Alumni Association and the UW campus that reaches out to UW alumni, asking them for gifts or donations.
UW Foundation Chief of Staff Alisa Robertson said the university has had a program for more than 20 years that has been contacting alumni, but the “Share the Wonderful” campaign incorporates a new twist.
“Historically, our approach was centered around the telefund, which involves UW students calling alumni asking for donations,” Robertson said. “But this year we have involved advertising, social media and digital components.”
The campaign will incorporate Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter in order to connect with and reach out to alumni, according to Executive Vice President of the Wisconsin Alumni Association Mary Deniro.
The “Share the Wonderful” website also gives alumni the chance to reminisce about their time at UW through a component called “My Wonderful.” The component provides individuals with an opportunity to view photomontages from the decade they graduated.
Deniro said this year’s campaign is different in that it incorporates the entire UW campus. In the past, different schools and colleges have worked to contact alumni independently of each other, Deniro said.
“The entire university has pulled together, and we’re making this a priority,” Deniro said.
Stressing the importance of donations, Deniro said all alums proud to say they attended UW should make a donation, as even a small gift could make a huge difference in the university.
Deniro said because the university has seen a decrease in funding from the state, it is more important now than ever that alums see this as an opportunity to give back to UW.
According to Robertson, the campaign’s goal is to raise $10 million for high priority annual funds, school and college annual fund, and need-based aid. The university hopes to get 41,000 alumni to make a gift to the university, Robertson said.
Robertson also noted 38,000 alumni donated gifts last year and that on average, 10 percent of the 400,000 UW alumni make a gift.
Both Robertson and Deniro are looking to increase that number.
“Ohio and Indiana have increased giving to 16 to 20 percent,” Robertson said. “We have gotten to the point where UW alumni are just as passionate and loyal, if not more so.”
Earlier this week, the “Share the Wonderful” campaign sent out cards to about 125,000 alums, reading “You are Wonderful” and giving information about the campaign.
UW alumna Erica Nelson said she was impressed with the effort put forth by the university to contact its alumni.
“This is geared toward making alumni remember why they love the university so much,” Nelson said. “It reminds us why UW was so important to us.”
The “Share the Wonderful” campaign will run until Oct. 31. Additional information can be found at sharethewonderful.org.