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BU Giving Day 2023 brings creative fundraising incentives, much-needed resources

BU mascot Rhett poses for photos at the Giving Day tent in front of Marsh Plaza on April 11. (Photo by Lincoln Son Currie/BU News Service)

By Lincoln Son Currie

Boston University News Service

Boston University student organizations, athletic departments, colleges and other entities raised $3,845,817 on BU’s 2023 Giving Day on April 11. 

CAS Associate Director of Development and Alumni Relations Gregg Carlo said Giving Day success involves advanced fundraising in addition to day-of donations. 

“We like to think of Giving Day like a pep rally,” Carlo said. “While most of the support comes in on the 11th, we do see as much as 30 to 40 percent raised in advance.”

General funds raised by each college go to the college’s department chairs for discretionary spending. However, designated funds like the CAS Experiential Learning Fund go toward stipends, study abroad opportunities and unpaid internship funding for undergraduates.

CAS tapped into students, alumni and parents to exceed their goal of raising $300,000.

Student-run organizations lack the donor infrastructure that colleges at BU have. However, some student clubs, such as the Dear Abbeys acapella group, devised creative incentives to attract donations. 

Dear Abbeys giving day coordinator and BU freshman Andrew Mitchell helped create rewards for each level of donations received. If they raise $500 or garner 25 donors, the Dear Abbeys will release a “limited edition sexy calendar” of their members. If the Abbeys raise $5,000 or attract 250 donors, a quartet of Abbeys will sit on the Rhett Bench near BU Beach for six hours while singing on demand.

Dear Abbeys donor benchmarks include wacky stunts. (Graphic Courtesy of Andrew Mitchell)

Though Mitchell says that the Dear Abbeys vote as a group on which challenges will be part of the donor incentives, sacrifice makes the system work. 

Mitchell asked, “I mean, what fun is it for our donors if we actually enjoy every single challenge?”

Their strategy proved effective, and the Abbeys led all student clubs and organizations by raising over $7,000. 

Mitchell clarified that the Dear Abbeys never force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do but added that there are always members who “will literally put their bodies and lives on the line to push us towards success.”

Giving Day also provides BU club sports an opportunity for financial independence. BU Triathlon is a club sport and an entirely self-funded team, according to BU senior and triathlete Ryan Christensen. BU Triathlon raises most of its money on Giving Day.

BU senior Ryan Christensen (left) and BU junior Ezekiel Cruz’s table for BU Triathlon at FitRec. (Photo by Lincoln Son Currie/BU News Service)

The organization will use the money on flights, race entry fees and new gear. BU Triathlon plans to compete in the 2023 Collegiate Club National Championships near Atlanta next week. 

Christensen said BU Triathlon gives him a sense of community at BU and is glad Giving Day provides the financial support that keeps the group “running.”

“All my best friends are on the team,” Christensen said. “It’s really the one place I go to where everybody feels like a family.”

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