Creating a Culture of Giving Among Current Students

Topics: Alumni Affairs, Advancement, Donor and Prospect Relations, Fundraising, Major Gifts and Campaign Strategy

Making Direct Asks of All Students

Creating a Continuum of Philanthropy

While senior giving is a great place to start a habit of giving, some innovative schools are looking to pull forward fundraising asks.

These institutions want students to learn about philanthropy earlier, give to causes on campus that inspire them, and ultimately graduate as donors with multiple years of giving behind them.

+ Download Graphic

Student Awareness Is Growing, Now What?

Nevertheless, many advancement leaders balk at the prospect of asking tuition-paying students to give before their senior year. As a result, campus-based programming typically focuses on educational initiatives such as thankathons, National Philanthropy Day, Tag Day, and alumni association information sessions.

While these activities yield noteworthy attendance numbers and generate enthusiasm, there is scant evidence that they drive giving later on.

+ Download Graphic

'Does This Promote Giving?'

Some institutions involve students in philanthropy by creating opt-in fees that support causes such as student aid.

Prairie View A&M University implemented a $10-per-semester opt-out scholarship fee in fall 2012. The university pledged to match the fee dollar-for-dollar in an endowed scholarship fund.

As the fund grows toward its $2.2 million goal, advancement staff will raise student awareness of the fee’s impact through student newspaper ads and other channels. These educational efforts will help students see themselves as donors and understand the effect that many small gifts can have. Still, interviewees at Prairie View note that these efforts may not do enough to substantially impact giving after graduation.

+ Download Graphic

Engaging First-Year Students in Philanthropy

Some institutions have decided to leverage first year students’ enthusiasm and natural competitive spirit to teach giving behaviors early.

Prairie View A&M University complements its student development fee with a first-year-focused fundraising initiative known as Stuff the Pig. First-year students are asked to make a small donation and to submit their name, email address, and residence hall with their gift, which allows staff to identify them as likely donors in the future.

+ Download Graphic

Building a Foundation for Future Philanthropy

While the dollars Prairie View A&M raises through Stuff the Pig are modest, the campaign achieves the important goal of getting students to give early in their academic careers. This allows administrators to continue engaging students in philanthropy across the rest of their time on campus.

This academic year, staff will work with the sophomores who participated in the original Stuff the Pig campaign to determine how to use the funds. Involving these students in the allocation of their gifts helps demonstrate impact and gives students ownership over their own philanthropy.

+ Download Graphic

Transitioning from Senior Gifts to Senior Giving

Systematizing Student Data Collection