An increasing number of colleges and universities across the United States are making Giving Days an important part of their overall fundraising strategies.  

These 24-hour fundraising challenges go beyond inspiring alumni to give, with participation seen from faculty, students, and even non-affiliated members of their local communities.

An impressive example was Canisius College’s first Giving Day, with over $200,000 raised from more than 1,000 donors in a single day! Here’s how Giving Days benefit both higher education organizations AND their donors:


1. Improved Alumni Engagement

Successful Giving Days rely heavily on an enhanced online presence and social media engagement that leads supporters to a simple way to give back through online donations. Essentially with a Giving Day what you’re doing is:

“Meeting donors where they already are – on social media and online” – Canisius 

2. New Donor Acquisition

Studies from higher education Giving Days have revealed that they can (and often do) attract new donors of all age levels.  See the stats from this higher ed Giving Day report

It’s important to also keep in mind the number of post-graduates who have accumulated student loan debt and who would normally not be appropriate to reach out to for donations.

With a Giving Day, more emphasis is placed on increasing the number of people that are involved in giving what they are able to give (known as “the crowdfunding game”), rather than a small number of wealthy people giving in large quantities.  Because of this, everyone can feel as though they contributed to the grand total. 🙂

3. Improved Awareness / Understanding of Your Organization’s Needs

With an amplified online presence through your Giving Day website and social media campaigns, you’re improving both the number of people you’re reaching with your message and the quality of that message.  The better your cause is understood, the more people will relate to it and want to provide their support.

4. Raise Much-Needed Funds

As Canisius mentioned following their successful Giving Day, a lot of the funds they saw during this event may have never come in otherwise. Having a sense of urgency (24-hour timeframe!) really does encourage giving.

5. Rising Popularity and Success Amongst Universities as a Whole 

More and more colleges and universities are seeing incredible results by implementing a Giving Day into their fundraising plan.  Their strategies for success throughout the day are often shared openly and can be implemented by other institutions in order to see similar results.

6. They almost always Exceed Expectations

If you look at the Giving Day performance statistics for higher education organizations, the majority of them have surpassed their fundraising goals!


7. Strengthened Sense of Pride in Your Organization

Whether it be in the college itself or within certain groups they were associated with, donors can feel a strengthened sense of pride by contributing during the Giving Day. For example, a specific sports team could be recognized for giving the most as a group for that day or for having the most donors.  These numbers are reflected in the Giving Day Leaderboards, one of the many great features offered through GiveGab

When you have an established day dedicated to giving back to your college or university, you can get the entire community – beyond just your alumni – involved!  When fundraising isn’t only targeting your alumni, you’re casting a larger net and establishing a bigger community of supporters that your alumni, faculty, students, and so on, can ALL feel a deeper connection to!

8. Increased Philanthropic Spirit

As most donors can attest to, there’s a lot of joy that comes from contributing to something greater than ourselves.  When an organization of higher learning has provided us with the skills and experience to succeed in life or with invaluable personal connections, a collaborative giving event can ignite a widespread spirit of philanthropy.   


Giving to higher education has increased every year since 2010, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.  Your college or university can be a part of this growing trend by implementing a Day of Giving into your overall fundraising strategy!

For more information about the platform behind Canisius Giving Day and many other successful Giving Days, click below:

Days of Giving on GiveGab

Get the latest nonprofit fundraising tips and product updates delivered to your inbox every Thursday