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The Hottest Digital Fundraising Campaigns of 2020

The Hottest Digital Fundraising Campaigns of 2020

2020 will go down as the most financially challenging year in recent history. But despite institutions’ grave concerns about shifting donor behaviors and dwindling bottom lines, numbers coming in from schools across the world are telling a story of gifting funds for the record books and a willingness to help that puts years past to shame.

So what was it about 2020 – with its closing campuses and social distancing, its collapsing job market and crisis economy – that has made it an unbeatable year for fundraising?

It comes down to two things. The cause. And the technology.

Donors around the world have stepped up to support schools working on the front lines of COVID-19, opening their hearts and wallets to those affected by the pandemic. And while the cause needs little promotion to get everyone rallying around it, the hard and fast pivot to virtual fundraising has also been a blessing in disguise for many institutions.

It has uncovered unsung heroes who displayed agility, adaptability and foresight in running, sometimes for the first time, outstandingly successful virtual fundraisers, record breaking digital Giving Days and donor events. All from makeshift workstations in their homes.

This year, we decided to recognize individuals and teams that leveraged technology to shift their fundraising strategies to digital platforms and make an impact when it was most needed. By embracing the shift to digital, many translated what would have been campus-wide physical events into virtual extravaganzas, converting long standing traditions without losing school spirit and pride.

Amongst the winners of our Digital Fundraising Award, we would like to highlight some exemplary schools whose activity stood out above and beyond the rest in supporting their community despite the hurdles that 2020 presented.

  • First, we have to give a huge shout out to Wisconsin University for their creative take on digitizing their annual ‘Fill the Hill’ fundraising campaign. A cute tradition that brought hundreds of flamingos onto their campus, was transformed this year into a COVID-friendly virtual coloring of the campus pink to symbolize the rising donations throughout their Giving Day
  • Brentwood College in Canada similarly held their first virtual Giving Day in 2020 to great success, and have expanded their Day of Giving home run into an annual campaign that continues to draw in donations.
  • Our UK based friends, the St Benedict school ran their first ever Giving Day this year and went virtual from get go. They had less than one month to prepare for it and came out on the other side having smashed every one of their goals.
  • The Microsoft Alumni Network ran their very first philanthropic activity in 2020, and like St Benedict went for a fully virtual event right out of the gate. We were so pleased with their success and amazing feedback about their platform use.

To all our award winners, congrats! Very well deserved.

Here’s to breaking new ground in 2021.

See the full list of our Graduway Impact Awards winners >>

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