The alumni office recently teamed up with the 1844 Society to show a little love to the school and bring alumni’s hearts and thoughts back to their alma mater. The Love the ’Dale campaign officially began the week of Valentine’s Day, and though all the appeals have been mailed out and the phonathon is long-finished, support from Hillsdale alumni continues to steadily trickle in.
To date, the campaign has raised $157,766 for academics, various sports teams, clubs, committees, and greek organizations. However, according to Colleen McGinness, Director of Strategic Partnership and Student Giving, the Alumni Office set no specific monetary goal for this campaign.
“Our goal for this event was to increase donor and alumni participation,” McGinness said. “Right now we are around 15 percent participation on a given year. Eighty-five percent of donations are not from people who went here. Alumni are not really giving back. We are working in an effort to improve our giving participation, so we have a donor goal instead of a dollar goal.”
The 1844 Society and Alumni office are running the campaign through a unique vendor that acts as a social media platform, making it easier to spread awareness for its cause. At the interactive site, alumni can initiate their own challenges to old classmates, teammates, sorority and fraternity brothers and sisters, and friends, to donate a certain amount. They can also create a match, which is a donation pocket for a specific facet of Hillsdale life that they enjoyed most, whether that be athletics, academics, or a specific club or organization.
“Most people give money to what matters to them. This campaign was targeted to alumni, and designed to elicit an affinity for the things that matter to them,” McGinnes said. “In an alum’s case, they are going to give to the specific area that they really cared about. Here, alumni can designate their money to whatever area they choose, or they can make a general donation.”
The 1844 Society worked on the student side to create a tradition of giving back to Hillsdale, either through money or time. In this campaign, students were encouraged to contribute by sharing the campaign on their social media to help garner support for the cause.
“The 1844 Society is encouraging students here currently to get into that habit while they are still here at Hillsdale. We aren’t alumnae yet, but we will be next four years. We can start giving now. There are already so many things that we have to be thankful for, and that we wouldn’t have been able to experience if other people hadn’t given in the first place,” said senior Shelby Bargenquast, President of the 1844 Society. “From the moment you step foot on campus, the schools gives gifts to you. The society is trying to acknowledge that, and then get others to acknowledge that, and get people to give back to what they love.”
Vice President of the 1844 Society senior Emily Walker agrees that the Love the ‘Dale Campaign is not only a way to pay it forward but also a means of staying connected in the Hillsdale community.
“It is a great way to give back to a school that is giving us so much in opportunities and information. Sometimes we don’t recognize all the opportunities we have and we don’t realize that they come from donors,” Walker said. “Donating is a way to way thank you, and for, alumni, it is a way to stay involved.”