The University of Central Florida (UCF) has participated in #GivingTuesday for two years and is excited to take on their third in 2018. #GivingTuesday campaign management is led by Stephanie Odierno, the Assistant Director of Marketing for UCF Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving

Stephanie shared that UCF's goals are around number of donors and they surpassed their goal of 350 unique donors in 2017. They plan on starting this year’s planning in July and are seeking to differentiate #GivingTuesday from their annual Giving Day in the spring.

Online ambassadors are big for UCF and they are continuing to grow the program each year. In their first year, it was an unofficial program that was driven by grassroots activations. In the second year, they knew they needed to make it more clear about the resources and expectations for the ambassadors. They were able to grow to 55 ambassadors in 2017 and then to 100 by their next spring Giving Day. Stephanie encourages all campaign leaders to not be scared if you are starting with a small number of ambassadors as you have to start somewhere. Connect With Your Top Ambassadors

She recommends working with your most loyal alumni who are active on social media. UCF uses a tool called EverTrue, that helped them integrate their donor data with social media, identifying which donors are active on social media. This has helped them pinpoint their best ambassadors moving forward. They are excited to grow this program in 2018.

Stephanie’s team works closely with UCF’s social media team, who brought attention to the fact that UCF’s football team was ranked #14 in an article that same day, a lower ranking than the school and fans desired. They turned not-ideal news into a giving call-to-action, asking donors who disagreed with the ranking to donate and be a part of growing the program. This truly tapped into what donors were passionate about. They were able to unexpectedly double their donors after 6PM on #GvingTuesday because of this unique interpretation of the article.

Not only does Stephanie’s team work closely with the Social Media team, they are also grateful to have an engaged Athletic Director. If you are at a school where the athletic team is very important, be sure nurture that relationship. UCF continues to build that partnership and tap into their active social media fans. On the other hand, be prepared that this can be variable depending on how the teams are performing that year. Either way, be ready to capitalize on last-minute opportunities.

LESSONS LEARNED: 

  • Work closely with other departments leading up and on the day of. 
  • Be ready to think creatively on day-of news opportunities. 
  • Don't be afraid to start an ambassador program with a small number. You have to start somewhere!