By Amelia Kibbe
As part of the university’s second annual giving day on Feb. 23, an alumnus challenged the St. Bonaventure community to add 60 new donors to the online fundraising day’s growing total.
If at least that many members donated in the next 60 minutes, the alumnus, who wished to remain anonymous, would make a $5,000 donation.
It only took the St. Bonaventure community 23 minutes to meet the 60-donor mark.
This type of dedication and loyalty to the university has made both the university’s giving days successes, said Karen Heitzinger, director of annual giving.
“[Bona Giving Day] was held two months earlier this year…and [we] had a lofty goal of 800 donors in a single day,” she said. “So, to see our numbers at the end of the day…was quite exciting and totally exceeded our expectations.”
In the 24-hour period, St. Bonaventure raised $330,655.54 through 892 gifts, both online and through phone calls and checks, she added. This total included 94 new donors to the university and saw a 47 percent increase in the number of donors as compared to 2016.
Additionally, the St. Bonaventure community met all trustee and alumni challenges announced throughout the day, including an $80,000 challenge by trustee Jim Meyer ’79 and his wife Nina Meyer ‘79.
Alan Riddle, a university development officer, said the largest percentage of donations came in the time between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. and 2 and 4 p.m., with the average online gift equaling about $220.
The university introduced a new software fundraising program, named TeamRaiser, which allowed donors to see the day’s progress and break into teams to compete.
“[The new program] gave alums the opportunity to take a more active role in the day and participate on their own terms,” Riddle said. “It’s not unreasonable to attribute the increased participation in part to TeamRaiser.”
All donations benefited The Bonaventure Fund, which provides scholarship aid and academic support to current and future students.
Beginning this year, the fundraising even coincided with Bona Pride Day and Homecoming Weekend at the university. Heitzinger said this trend will continue in the future.
“The Bona Nation came through again,” she said.