Giving Tuesday “Unselfies” Campaign

The Pellissippi State Foundation, the fundraising arm for Pellissippi State Community College, implemented their first-ever one-day blitz fundraising event for Giving Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. Giving Tuesday is a day devoted to charitable giving.

Research was conducted where we looked at other colleges and companies utilization of Giving Tuesday campaigns. We also looked at the branded materials and best practices provided by the Giving Tuesday website. Additional research was made to determine what areas that the funds could best be used for students.

The theme of “Give Big. Give Tuesday.” was decided with the key message of “10,000 students. 1 day to give.” The goal was to raise $10,000 in 24 hours for student scholarships. This campaign revolved around social media and digital communications and included a photograph or “selfie” of the individual. These photos were tagged “unselfies,” combining the words “selfie” and “unselfish.” To help translate the messages of how scholarships help students and why donations are important, we crafted two cardstock templates, one for donors and one for students, for use in the “Unselfies” photos. The donor template read “I give because ______” and the student template read “Your gift helps me______.” Donors and students were asked to fill in the blanks with their own honest opinions.

Communication venues included Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram plus “Inside Pellissippi” and “Insider” newsletters. For this campaign, key publics were identified as Pellissippi State employees, previous donors, and prospective donors.

Objectives for this campaign:

  • To have an effect on action for Pellissippi State employees, previous donors and prospective donors to donate at least $10,000 to the Foundation on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 2.
  • Raise awareness of the Pellissippi StateFoundation and increase knowledge among prospective donors of its ties to the funding of student scholarships (more than 12,000 impressions during the marketing period of Giving Tuesday, from Nov. 17-Dec. 2).

Tactics included building a database of the “Unselfies” photos and responses, posting Giving Tuesday and “Unselfies” branded messages on the college’s social media sites, and using the “Inside Pellissippi” and “Insider” newsletters to promote Giving Tuesday. Matching donations & social media shares were encouraged, and updates on the fundraising efforts were communicated all day long on Giving Tuesday. Thank you messaging was also sent following the event through social media and the newsletters.

Initially, the Foundation raised $9,506, but after additional funds were counted, a total of $12,156 was raised for student scholarships. The campaign was so successful that it continues to be incorporated at the college. Additionally, the “Unselfies” campaign won a PRSA V Awards Award of Excellence for Investor/Donor Relations for a Nonprofit.