Giving Day campaigns or any fundraising event for that matter can find success in many different ways. In the case of DePaul University, the Office of Advancement found tremendous success by uniting their community and giving them opportunities to not only contribute to the cause but to share and interact with one another.
After raising a record $2 million in 2020, DePaul University set out to achieve a lofty 2021 goal of raising $3 million to support departments across campus. With a small but mighty team, the Office of Advancement created the Blue Demon Challenge in support of the effort and organized a 24-hour interactive social experience to promote it.
Centered on an engaging livestream show, BDC Live, the interactive experience helped DePaul not just achieve their goal, but exceed it, raising $3.46 million in donations from 3.3K gifts. The keys to success for the show? Live interaction and acknowledgment of those who contributed, mini-challenges within the larger goal, and entertaining content.
Live Interaction & Acknowledgment
At its core, BDC Live acted as a vessel of community interaction that grew awareness and fueled the conversation on social media. In a variety of formats easily controlled by Tagboard Producer throughout the show, producers featured live social media commentary from donors and from various DePaul University departments as well as famous alumni promoting giving challenges.
“The Tagboard platform allowed us to quickly and easily incorporate our community directly into the show in a variety of professional, polished displays, generating increased engagement and reach for the Blue Demon Challenge.” – Michael Bogart, Associate Director, Alumni Communications at DePaul University
This live commentary not only drew attention to each of the giving challenges, but it prompted others to share the message themselves, growing awareness beyond the reach of the livestream itself. Taking it a step further to make the interaction feel real and authentic, student emcee, Connor Mudd, gave shoutouts to specific donors who voiced their support on social media, further incentivizing others to contribute.
The results of these efforts on social media? Over 2.5 million potential impressions and more than 2,000 engagements supporting the #BlueDemonChallenge.
Giving Challenges Within the Challenge
One of the most effective tactics that DePaul University deployed to reach the larger $3 million goal was to create smaller challenges to unlock matches or larger donations. By breaking up the goal into smaller attainable goals throughout the day, the DePaul Office of Advancement ignited competition and had reasons to keep promoting additional gifts.
The 50 States Challenge, for example, unlocked a $50,000 scholarship from the Gibbs family in memory of their son/brother, Dr. Michael G. Gibbs if the university received gifts from all 50 states. This allowed BDC Live show hosts to prompt alumni across the nation to donate, and they supported the call to action on social content at the same time, creating a cohesive message across all channels.
Through promotion on the livestream and on social media, the university completed over 75 giving challenges en route to the ultimate goal. Not included in this years’ challenge but sure to make an appearance in the future, a Hashtag Meter, part of the Tagboard Interactive suite, is the perfect medium for a social media challenge.
Beyond the social interaction interlaced throughout the show, DePaul University also provided engaging entertainment options to keep viewers tuned in to BDC Live and give them additional reasons to share.
Students and alumni tuning in had opportunities to join fitness classes, learn origami, enjoy short performances from the DePaul Theatre Union, and even stir up a refreshing beverage from a cocktail class. Interviews throughout the show enthralled viewers with insights about each department on campus and helped promote the mini-challenges.
The focus on community interaction and engaging entertainment paid off. On top of successfully promoting the Blue Demon Challenge to the tune of $3.4 million in gifts, BDC Live garnered more than 207 hours of total watch time and posted an average watch time of over 450% more than other videos on the YouTube channel.
For Advancement Departments and fundraising organizations across the nation, this is a recipe to keep in the cookbook. If you’re looking to get started today, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Tagboard.