Entering the Giving Day on-campus celebration in 2019.

Countdown to Giving Day 2020

March 12, 2020, will mark Cornell University’s sixth Giving Day, a 24-hour fundraising celebration in which Cornellians come together to support the areas they care most deeply about and to engage in some friendly competition.

Last year, colleges and units participated in a “Raise the Bar” challenge, competing against themselves to increase their number of donors from the previous year. This unlocked additional funds for many areas. Giving Day will reprise this and other challenges, adding social media and matching gift challenges, to raise the stakes for 2020.

“Giving Day is growing into a tradition! It has been incredibly exciting to see more and more donors giving each year,” says Nicole Cook, director of marketing and participation for Cornell Annual Giving Programs in the division of Alumni Affairs and Development (AAD). “Giving Day unites students, alumni, parents, and friends across the globe in the single purpose of making a difference for Cornell.”

Last year’s Giving Day brought in the highest number of gifts Cornell had received on any single day in its history, from over 13,000 donors.

Giving on Giving Day is personal. Donors give from the heart to the areas they are most passionate about.
—Nicole Cook, Cornell Annual Giving Programs
Students write thank you notes on Giving Day 2019.
Students write thank you notes to donors on Giving Day 2019 in Willard Straight Hall. Photo: Adam Murtland/Cornell University

We are the champions, with friends.

Alumni volunteers can inspire their friends to participate in Giving Day 2020 by signing up to be Fundraising Champions. Champions create unique profile pages on the Cornell Giving Day website and track their success getting friends to help make their individual goals in real time.

“Giving on Giving Day is personal,” Cook says. “Donors give from the heart to the areas they are most passionate about or to a specific cause. They see the immediate impact of their gifts on the day.”

Last year, over ninety champions brought in several thousand dollars to funds all across Cornell.

“Giving Day is not possible without the support of hundreds of volunteers who fundraise as Giving Day Champions, share our messages as social media ambassadors, and give generously as donors,” says Ashley Budd, director of digital marketing in AAD. “Each of them is passionate about giving back to the programs they love.”

Staff ice cream scoopers on Giving Day 2019.
Staff members scoop “Big Red Philanthro-Pie” ice cream on Giving Day 2019. Photo: Jason Koski/Cornell University

In-person celebrations

From coffee hours and ice cream socials to giveaways in several central campus locations, in-person events get the campus community excited about Giving Day and help build a culture of philanthropy – especially for students approaching graduation.

“The message of Giving Day resonates with the philosophy of the Senior Class Campaign: give what you can to what you love at Cornell, and your gift joins with others’ to do more,” says Kendra Saldana, assistant director of AAD for the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. “The campus event is such a fun atmosphere for the senior class to plug into and host a table. They get to see many of their classmates and, because the Giving Day cause is already in the air, many seniors make their gift.”

Students in Ithaca will have the chance to eat Giving Day ice cream, write thank you cards to donors, and gather with friends at a central campus celebration in Willard Straight Hall from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Giving Day. Student and Campus Life will continue the festivities from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Appel Commons.

This year, AAD invites alumni in New York City from the classes of 2010–2019 to gather to count down the final hours of Giving Day, from 9:00 p.m. to midnight, at The Ainsworth East Village. 

Students pose for photos during Giving Day 2019
Students pose for photos during the Giving Day 2019 campus celebration. Photo: Adam Murtland/Cornell University

This story also appears in the Cornell Chronicle.

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