OU Day of Giving raises $455,000 for campus funds

At a time when money is tight for everyone, members of the Oakland University gave an unprecedented amount.

Held over all 24 hours of Feb. 2, the first-annual Day of Giving raised over $455,000 for funds benefiting various programs, initiatives and scholarships at OU. 

“[The Day of Giving] was an opportunity for donors all throughout the OU community to come together and support what they love about OU,” Adrian Benedict, assistant director of annual giving, said. 

Seven hundred and three donors gave $455,945 over the course of the day. Men’s swimming received the most donors, with Meadow Brook Hall, the OU Student Emergency Fund, Golden Grizzlies Champion Fund, and women’s swimming rounding out the top five funds. 

Along with the direct donations from individual donors, several donations were increased or matched based on competitions and drawings held throughout the day. The OU Credit Union matched $50,000 of donations, and drawing winners saw up to $500 added to their donations.

“The Day of Giving was built with the OU community in mind,” Benedict said. “We wanted to have a really inclusive day where anyone across the OU community could find a way to connect and feel engaged with the Day of Giving.”

A Bill Murray lookalike contest was held and an online poll asked respondents if Grizz saw his shadow based on a video, both nodding to the Groundhog Day holiday. No donation was required to vote or enter the lookalike contest.

“[The Day of Giving] is a natural progression of where we have been for the past five years,” Kelly Brault, OU director of annual giving, said. 

The OU Day of Giving has its roots in the giving challenge competition held between OU and University of Detroit Mercy. The winner of the competition was based on whoever could raise the most money from the most donors. The final competition took place last year in late January with OU raising over $173,000 on their way to victory.

“When we switched from that, we really wanted to start focusing on people supporting the school with their funds,” Benedict said. “Obviously that was important for the giving challenge, but we do not really have that focus on the number of donors anymore. We are more focused on people supporting OU.”

In order to secure donations, donors were contacted in a number of ways.

“We reach people in any way possible to engage them in giving to the university,” Brault said. “That can range from mail to email to phone to online crowdfunding, you name it. Any way we can reach people we are communicating about philanthropy.”

Ninety people signed up as ambassadors for the Day of Giving, making gifts to the funds of their choice and spending the day encouraging others to make gifts to OU. Exactly 856 gifts were made in total.

While all of the information regarding the day’s donations have yet to be sorted through, Benedict says most of the donations came from alumni, faculty and staff.

The next OU Day of Giving will  be held on February 2, 2022.