Today, WOU is celebrating our annual Giving Day, a day dedicated to raising funds for the university. On this day, the WOU community gathers together to support WOU students, staff, and faculty in the form of financial contributions. I have been lucky enough to participate in the past two Giving Days, and I will be participating in my third Giving Day next week. During Giving Day, it is mine and my coworkers’ responsibility to reach out to the WOU community via phone calls and talk to them about the importance of financial contributions to the university, as well as let them know about the matches we are currently running. If the individual I call is interested in contributing to WOU, I either send them a pledge form in the mail, direct them to our campus giving page, or take their credit card information over the phone.
Giving Day is such a fun day for WOU. It is filled with laughter, reminiscing, and a general spirit of generosity. The phone-a-thon’s student manager, Rachel Worley, echoed this: “Giving Day is absolutely my favorite day of calling each year. The number of people we get to talk to who are genuinely passionate about Western and supporting students they’ve never met is incredibly uplifting.”
One thing that I have learned throughout my years with the WOU Foundation is that there is no such thing as a “too small” contribution. Every contribution builds up, and it is so heartwarming to see these $5 and $10 contributions add up to thousands of dollars. One of the aspects of Giving Day that makes it so fun is that we get to watch these contributions come in in real time, and we keep a running tally of how much we are able to raise that day. Last year, we were able to raise approximately $140,000, beating the goal of $100,000.
As a scholarship recipient myself, I know firsthand how vital scholarships are to students. For the past three years, I have received the David and Dennis Eddings Literature Scholarship, which has helped me more comfortably afford my tuition and fees. Rachel, who is also a scholarship recipient, mentioned that, to her, Giving Day “feels a bit like an opportunity to pay it forward. It’s my chance to help raise funds which will really impact other students and their ability to continue to earn an education through Western. So although I cannot give back financially at this point, I still feel like I’m helping my fellow students, just as I have been helped in the past.”
Like we’ve all heard a million times, it’s been an unprecedented year, and this extends to WOU’s fundraising efforts. Now more than ever, students are in need of these funds, and we are so incredibly thankful for the generosity of the contributors. Even though this year’s Giving Day is bound to look a little different, I know that the WOU community will rally together to ensure funds are raised for the university, and I will experience the same kindness from donors as I have in years past. Rachel too spoke about the importance of Tuesday, especially this year: “This year Giving Day feels more important than ever because so many people are hurting financially. Scholarship funds do more than pay for books, they allow people to use that saved money to pay for necessities like food and housing. Giving Day means less people have to make the choice between going to school and taking another term/year off.”
Rachel and I have spoken about how bittersweet this year’s Giving Day will be, as it will be the last for both of us as students. We’re excited to participate in future Giving Days as alumni, but we’ll also miss the excitement of working with donors on the day.
Our current goal for Giving Day 2021 is $100,000, and we’re running 14 different matches. If you’re interested in participating in this year’s Giving Day, you can visit the Giving page here.