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My Class Gift: Students want to give more than a dollar! Here’s how to help them.

My Class Gift: Students want to give more than a dollar! Here’s how to help them.

August 11, 2016
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As odd as it may sound, the way to ask students for a gift to their school is not through the minimum-possible dollar amount. If you’re asking your students for one-dollar donations, stop. It’s insulting. If you’re trying to drive-up participation by selling your students a graduation tassel, stop. They can (and want to!) do more. It’s possible to make a big impact for the future of your school by taking small but sure steps to educate your students about the power of philanthropy on campus.

If you’re asking your students for one-dollar donations, stop.

There are many ways that colleges and universities try to motivate their graduating seniors to give back to their school. In discussions with development and advancement officers across the country, several talked about using their Senior Class Gift program to landscape their campus, erect a new statue, name a building, or spruce-up a common space, etc. These are nice ways for students to see their dollars at work on campus, but not a great way to instill vision and create a lasting impact.

A handful of development officers, however, talked about student leadership and participation in helping to build endowments for scholarships and campus activities. These are visionary examples of funding opportunities that can drive-down costs of tuition and reduce potential student debt in the future. Talk about impact!

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With the goal of engaging your students in the long-term mission and vision of the school, here are 5 ways to empower them to make an impact-full gift:

  1. Write a peer toolkit, including ways to make an “Ask,” for students to raise funds from their classmates during the school year.
  2. Develop a campus culture of peer-to-peer fundraising that allows students to learn from each other, challenge each other, and design a model for engaging and motivating their classmates.
  3. Highlight student achievements and memories by publishing short photo/video-essays on social media and distributed through email.
  4. Help students realize the importance of philanthropy for their school by creating a giving kit that breaks-down the costs associated with education and campus life. Show the impact by featuring students’ stories from all generations.
  5. Create giving programs or internships in your office that will provide students with the necessary training to be campaign leaders, as well as give them the tools for real-world job situations after college.

It’s never too early to start the conversation! My Class Gift has all the tools you need to have an effective conversation with your seniors and get them ready for the Class Gift of 2017!

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