QUT’s inaugural giving day was so successful that before it began on May 22, the university had already achieved its goal to attract 500 donors.
“In the lead up to the day we encouraged everyone to make a donation, of any size, to an area of QUT that was close to their heart,” said QUT Director of Alumni and Development, Simone Garske.
One QUT alumnus, Greg Creed, CEO of Yum! Brands, sent out a challenge: if QUT could get 500 donors then he would donate $500,000.
And then on the morning of #QUTGivingDay something even more remarkable happened. Upon hearing the challenge had already been met, Creed upped the ante, announcing a new challenge via video message.
“If QUT can raise $1 million by midnight on (May 22) #QUTGivingDay, I will donate an extra $500,000 on top of the $500,000 I have already donated,” he said.
According to Garske, this lit a fire and gifts poured in. By midnight on May 22, the #QUTGivingDay campaign had received more than 1500 donations, and raised more than $1 million, unlocking Greg Creed’s extra $500,000.
“Many who had already donated, donated again so that the extra $500,000 would be unlocked,” she said.
QUT made the giving experience easy with an online toolkit that outlined how donors could get involved and provided sample posts and downloadable images that could be shared on all major social media platforms.
Precedents set by the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne were also invaluable in helping QUT establish the first campaign of this kind in Queensland.
A defining factor in the success of the day was the engagement and enthusiasm across the university as faculties, staff and students united in one cause. This included QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), a cutting-edge multidisciplinary health and biomedical research institute devoted to improving the health of individuals and communities through research innovation.
“What really impressed me about #QUTGivingDay was the breadth and depth of engagement and enthusiasm across the university community, and particularly throughout IHBI. It is testament to the culture of giving that already exists at QUT, which we were able to leverage to encourage fresh support,” says Sharyn Tidswell, Philanthropy Officer at IHBI.
“#QUTGivingDay also provided a simple way for our researchers to invite vital support from their networks. I will now work with those researchers to identify further opportunities that may have been sparked by this initiative.”
Medical research was just one area to benefit from the outpouring of support. From aiming to save the Great Barrier Reef to assisting students facing financial hardship, all of the money donated during #QUT Giving Day will go directly to one of 20 projects or funds chosen by the donor.
#QUTGivingDay Snapshot: Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI)
- 7 research teams ran #QUTGivingDay mini-campaigns to raise funds to save children from serious burns as well as for vital cancer, heart disease, bone and joint, and digital mental health research.
- $100,000 challenge gift secured to be ‘unlocked’ if 100 people donated to prostate cancer research mini-campaign, and leveraged an additional 137 donors and nearly $7000.
- $31,781 raised for IHBI projects through #QUTGivingDay online portal.
- IHBI researchers and staff ran 10 stalls on the day at four locations. Hundreds of items were given to encourage generous support and generate enthusiasm: plants cultivated; children’s activity sheets produced; and plenty of samosas, dumplings, spring rolls, bone-shaped macaroons, cupcakes and other culinary delights cooked.
- Lots of creative videos, tweets, posts and emails encouraged friends, associates and others to support #QUTGivingDay campaigns.
- Generous donations by a high proportion of IHBI researchers and other staff, not only to support their own projects but others across QUT.
QUT is part of a national collaborative group of five major Australian universities that form the ATN (Australian Technology Network of Universities).