California State University San Marco (CSUSM) has participated in #GivingTuesday for three years and is excited to take on their fourth in 2018.

California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) is a public university in San Marcos, California and one of the 23 campuses of the California State University system.

CSUSM raised $254,808 in 2017, an increase of 38% over the previous year. Every donation received impacts their students as they strive toward their goal of a CSUSM degree. CSUSM communicates to their donors that every gift is in investment in a student's future using compelling photography and videography.

Sean Briner, the Director of Annual Giving, believes their success was driven by their winning combination of microsites and social media.

Mobilizing Each Department

CSUSM utilized microsites where donors could find their cause, giving them an opportunity to learn where they can and want to give. These microsites also encouraged each department and funding area on campus to clarify their case for support and take ownership of promoting via their social channels.

Don't Forget About your Social Media Channels

By enabling individual groups and organizations across campus with microsites, CSUSM was able to reach a variety of followers they might not have been able to otherwise. They also branded their day with the hashtag, #CSUSMGivingDay, where they encouraged students, alumni, and internal staff to "show us your heart." CSUSM also believes that if you have social media platforms that you aren't using throughout the year and then bombarding on one day, you are defeating the purpose and missing a big opportunity to maintain relationships with your donors.

Where are Your Donations Coming From? 

When recapping their #GivingTuesday success, CSUSM took a look at where their donations were coming from. They learned that 14% of donors were actually current students. Moving forward, they hope to engage more alumni and internal staff. Additionally, they have learned that they are consistently attracting new donors. In 2016, 49% were first-time donors. In 2017, 47% were first-time donors. They are excited about these numbers as they do not want to deter their existing donors from donating throughout the year. They believe #GivingTuesday is a great opportunity to reach new donors.

Lessons Learned:

  • Empower departments and encourage ownership with microsites for each department.
  • Ensure that your fundraising thermometers are real time and 100% accurate, you'd be surprised how these motivate donors!
  • It's never too late to start your own #GivingTuesday. CSUSM does not see the effectiveness of #GivingTuesday going away anytime soon!