WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., July 8, 2020 — Good news is more welcomed than ever these days and West Liberty University’s Foundation turned a pandemic challenge into an opportunity recently.
“When our original plans for our annual Day of Giving were canceled and a restructure was necessary due to the crisis, I was worried, but our team effort resulted in the most successful Day of Giving in our history,” said WLU Foundation Executive Director Angie Zambito Hill.
More than $120,000 was raised during the campaign that was originally planned for April 2 but was canceled due to the unprecedented changes that took place as COVID-19 took over the country and the stock market.
The 24-hour giving campaign was reformatted and extended through the end of the Foundation’s fiscal year on June 30, 2020.
“At first, I thought we’ll just have to do our best and keep the Day of Giving open longer and extend the campaign. We were fortunate that our matching donors were willing to make good on pledges made before the pandemic, so we moved forward with matches available in 36 academic, athletic, and student life programs across campus.”
Micro-campaigns were held in the individual areas including sports and theater. The Foundation also added an incentive and rewarded the top three campaigns based on the number of donors. The top donor earning micro-campaign was awarded a $1,000 bonus and the two runner-up campaigns received an extra incentive of $500 each.
Wrestling took the top prize with 99 donors. Coming in as runners-up were Theater and Volleyball, with 74 and 63 donors respectively.
The money raised by the theater program went to the newly established scholarship in memory of former faculty member and alumnus John Hennen who died this spring.
“The key to our success can be attributed to the impact John Hennen had on our program and the students he mentored. The fact that people wanted to honor John and his teaching has to be the reason it was as successful as it was,” Aulick said.
Hennen taught at the school and directed countless plays. He and his wife, Judy, also an alumna, also played characters in many productions over the years.
The Foundation also incorporated some new tactics to assist the campus-wide fundraising effort.
“Since we had more time, we added targeted mailings and phone call campaigns in addition to traditional social media and email appeals used during past 24-hour campaigns,” said Zambito-Hill.
“I am impressed with the partnership between the WLU Foundation and the WLU staff and faculty, who turned this COVID-19 challenge into a successful opportunity! We are so grateful to all who participated.”