Giving / Fundraising

How the sin of spilled wine sparked an annual pop-up, project-based fundraising campaign​

In 2017, the Goddard Alumni Giving Campaign during Alumni Weekend was born over a breakfast conversation.  The evening before, at the bonfire outside the Music Building, an unsuspecting alumnus sat at the wobbly picnic table spilling an open bottle of wine—needless to say, some colleagues went to bed thirsty.  Annoyance was still felt the following morning.

“It’s outrageous!  Goddard should have better quality picnic tables!”  The disgruntled voice got the attention of several tables.

Meg Hammond responded with that freckled smile of hers, “New tables cost money.”  

Another challenged her, “How much?”

Meg thought for a moment and said, “I recently priced them about $250.”  

Electric kinship sparked the air.  People looked from one to another, speaking with their eyes.  Suddenly there was movement.  Meg found herself gathering $300 cash for a new picnic table.

In 2018, again at breakfast, discussion was had about the table of the previous year and what to do for the current year.  In order to increase the number of donors, it was decided a five-dollar campaign would be the focus of this pop-up giving campaign.  By lunch, there was a thermometer was created—we were each asked to reach out to our Goddard community both on campus and afar.  We raised $30,000+ by the end of the weekend.

In 2019, the campaign was seeded with a couple of large pledges of matching gifts amounting to $15,000. We raised $32,000+ over the weekend, pulling in many first-time donors. In the three years since the conception of the Council—through their support and organizing—the alumni-giving rate increased from 4% in 2017 to 7% by 2019.

Ranked third by the Washington Monthly, behind Harvard and Yale as the “2020 Best Bang for the Buck” in the Northeast, what should we aim for this year?