October 30, 2014 | 1 p.m.
By Monique Kleinhuizen, Communications Strategist
Bethel’s first one-day giving campaign, ROAR (Raise Our Alumni Rate) Day, took place on October 14. With a focus on social media and online giving, ROAR Day provided an opportunity for alumni and donors to talk, tweet, or post about their experience at Bethel—and why they choose to give back.
On Tuesday morning, emails went out to nearly 13,000 alumni—mostly from recent graduation years—declaring it ROAR Day, sharing alumni-created videos, and inviting alumni to connect online. Fifty thousand dollars in 1:1 matching gifts from key Bethel donors offered an incentive for giving within the 24-hour window, along with periodic rewards such as Bethel blankets and flash drives.
In the Underground, the student awareness and philanthropy group Royal Legacy offered free snacks and pizza, while playing music and educating students about Bethel’s history and how alumni engagement impacts students and the value of a Bethel degree. Current students gave 68 gifts totaling more than $1,000, an increase from previous years.
The ROAR Day buzz resulted in donations of $104,916 from 492 donors. This marked a notable increase in the Alumni Participation Rate (APR)—which impacts Bethel’s reputation—and an uptick in the number of young and new donors giving back to Bethel. The highest number of individual gifts came from 2006-2014 graduates, with another 15% of gifts coming from current students.
The excitement and reach of ROAR Day went beyond the website and financial gifts. A video created for ROAR Day by Bethel alums Julia (Nicholson) Samuelson ’06, Matt Brue ’04, Erik Gruber ’06, and Tim Hammer ’08 has been viewed 8,116 times (and counting). The video features Bethel football coach Steve “Coach J” Johnson, Dennis Port from the Department of Music, and physics professor Keith Stein dancing and lip-syncing to the hit single “Happy.” Through the video and corresponding web page, donors could designate a one-time or recurring gift to a special fundraising project, including the purchase of new choir robes, Wellness Center construction, or the sciences. In addition to these specific projects, donors could choose that their gift benefit an area of the Bethel experience: academic life, campus enhancements, financial aid, spiritual formation, student life, or “where needed most.” The overwhelming preference of donors was to simply give back to Bethel, with over $34,000 in gifts to the university as a whole.