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#GivingTuesday and the power of collective generosity

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12342612_10204461586534745_148524021392263743_nBy Dan Gardiner

With the holiday season fast approaching, retailers are enthusiastically vying for our attention. What began with Black Friday has now spawned into Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Quietly nestled in the heart of this chaotic milieu, a different kind of movement is working to harness that same enthusiasm for spending and translate it into a remarkable day of giving.

#GivingTuesday is the nonprofit sector’s beautifullycrafted response to the inundation of consumerism during the weekend following Thanksgiving. What began three years ago with just a few participating organizations in New York City has grown exponentially into what is now largely recognized as a national day of philanthropy. #GivingTuesday provides nonprofits an opportunity to make their case for a pause in spending in favor of a moment of giving.

Stonehill, which is celebrating its third year of participating in #GivingTuesday Dec. 1, is working diligently to find new and creative ways to generate an enthusiastic outpouring of support. The College depends on the generosity of our community to sustain the success of our students. A gift in any amount represents an investment in our mission and our values; it is a powerful statement of support for the countless opportunities provided for our students’ personal, spiritual and professional growth. On #GivingTuesday, we are reaching out to current students, alumni, parents, faculty and staff in an attempt to bring our community together for the creation of a resounding demonstration of support for the College.

While the #GivingTuesday phenomenon has gained exponential traction nationwide, the data from Stonehill’s participation paints a similar picture as well. In 2013, we launched our first #GivingTuesday initiative with just a few weeks of preparation time. We graciously received 324 gifts totaling $54,656 from alumni, parents and friends of the College. In our second year, we ramped up our outreach and education efforts and the effect was evident. In total, 626 donors made a gift on the 2014 #GivingTuesday, amounting to over $120,000. This year, in preparation for the event, we are reaching out to a broader base of constituents and extending the hours of our Phonathon callers in the in the hopes that we can continue the momentum and surpass last year’s impressive results.

One of the most exciting developments for #GivingTuesday 2015 at Stonehill is a brand new, professionally made promotional video. Al Ward, a Stonehill alum from the class of 1990, made an extraordinarily generous contribution of time and talent for the creation of a video highlighting the importance of #GivingTuesday at the College. Keep an eye out for it, as the video not only features a compelling message from our President, Rev. John Denning, but it also tells the stories of five tremendous students. Matt Farrenkopf ’16, Cody Page ’16, Julianne Earle ’16, Juan Lopez ’18 and Theresa Ruszczyk ’16 are featured prominently sharing a few words about touchstones of their Stonehill experience and the way in which philanthropy makes them possible.

With the support of offices all over campus, we are launching an enhanced social media campaign on Dec. 1, and we encourage you to help us spread the word as well. When you see a post about #GivingTuesday, please like it, share it, retweet it or repost it! This is one of our most important opportunities to generate awareness and create a tidal wave of support for Stonehill. We would also ask that you consider making a gift to the College on that day, keeping in mind the words of Jean de La Bruyère, “Generosity lies less in giving much than in giving at the right moment.” With your help, we can ensure that #GivingTuesday is a moment in which Stonehill captures the awesome power of collective generosity to propel our student’s success. Visit www.stonehill.edu/giving/giving-tuesday to view the video and make a gift.

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