Office of Annual Giving provides fundraising opportunities for students, faculty

Nathan Lesch, Staff Reporter

Case Western Reserve University’s Office of Annual Giving, staffed by six full-time professionals, coordinates fundraising campaigns intended to attract repeat or regular donations and works with students and faculty to raise money for clubs, departments and other organizations. According to the Office, funds raised through its programs help cover the 30 percent of CWRU’s total operating budget not covered by tuition, and help fund student scholarships.

The Office of Annual Giving encourages alumni to be part of the “[in]” crowd and provide several ways for potential donors to become involved. According to the office’s website, [in] is characterized as “a movement towards a culture of involvement and support. Being ‘in’ means giving back to help your university forward.”

There are also opportunities for students and parents to be involved with the Office of Annual Giving. Students can phone alumni and parents asking for donations and providing updates about CWRU for the Student Call Center. The Parents Leadership Council welcomes any parent of a current CWRU student who makes a qualifying donation to work with the Student Affairs and Development staff to “enhance the student experience.”

Currently, the Office of Annual Giving is running a series of crowdfunding campaigns to benefit various parts of the University and recently unveiled a new recurring donation program called “Spartans Lead.” Spartans Lead simplifies the donation process and allows donors to indicate where their donation goes.

Additionally, CWRU’s #GivingTuesday program, entitled #GivingTuesdayatCWRU will kick off on Nov. 27 at midnight. #GivingTuesday is a global initiative which encourages giving back after the excess consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The Office of Annual Giving also is also participating in an ongoing fundraising campaign for the Department of Psychological Sciences. According to Professor Heath Demaree, Chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences, funds raised through this campaign will allow the department to become more flexible.

Demaree cited a few examples as to where funding could go: “When a professor needs money to support his [or] her activities in the classroom, or when a student needs some extra money to pay some of the costs of going to an academic convention.”

The collaboration between the Department of Psychological Sciences and the Office of Annual Giving began when the Office contacted Demaree. The process was “really efficient,” according to Demaree.

Demaree added, “[The Office of Annual Giving] was fantastic when helping us generate ideas about what we really need in the [Department of Psychological Sciences], helping us to create the crowdfunding website and then releasing and marketing [it].

Student organizations also have easy access to fundraising efforts through the Office of Annual Giving. According to Ayla Sweeney, the Director of Annual Giving at the Office of Annual Giving and the primary point of contact for student groups, student organizations predominantly reach out to the Office of Annual Giving after reading about it in The Daily or through the alumni association. The Office also reaches out directly to student organizations.

After the Office of Annual Giving and a student group agree to partner, Sweeney said, “I then meet with a representative of the group to talk to them about how we can help them. We develop a plan. I train group members on how to fundraise, and then they execute the campaign.”

One of the most popular ways in which student groups work with the Office of Annual Giving is through the #GivingTuesdayatCWRU initiative. Last year, 26 different causes raised funds through #GivingTuesday. Among those causes were the Campus Composting Initiative, sponsored by the Student Sustainability Council, and fundraising for CWRU Habitat for Humanity’s winter break trip. #GivingTuesdayatCWRU 2017 garnered $20,826 in donations from 521 donors, more than doubling the goal of 250 donors.