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How to energize a community

January 9, 2014

Okay, so this is a boastful post. On Friday December 13th, while others feared triskaidekaphobia, the community at my work raised $5.1 million dollars from 5,683 individual donors.

Four individuals gave a million each, while individuals gave the other $1.1 million. It was our single biggest day, and it could be one of the biggest ever by a Liberal Arts school.

We also had a selfie battle raging between New York, Cleveland and LA alumni parties and the

English: Tweeting bird, derived from the initi...

English: Tweeting bird, derived from the initial ‘t’ of Twitter Deutsch: Twitschervogel, entwickelt aus dem Anfangs-‘t’ von Twitter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Women’s Basketball team, turning our social media community into an event that lasted well into the evening.

The day was about more than the $5.1 million, it was about creating a sense of community and pride in the school. We used social and digital media to engage in already-established virtual communities to create a strong sense of pride about their alma mater.

We were able to accomplish this, in part, because we’ve worked hard to build these communities. We planned for success, but prepared for it for years.

On the day, students and alumni followed the school twitter feed, which was taken over by the campus mascot. Raider also roamed campus and downtown, live-tweeting along the way, taking selfies, retweeting, and interacting with almost everyone who tweeted at him. Later that evening, we say people posting on Twitter that due to the energy created that day, they would give to the school.

People who gave earlier in the day became invested in the success of the day.

The result?

The largest single day of donors in Colgate’s history.

Here are some other stats.

On the day, our official Twitter account boasted 226 re-tweets and 180 favorites. In one day.

Facebook reach was up 267% from the previous week. More importantly, social media did something for the school. It moved the needle on an actual goal.

That’s proper marketing, and honestly, we’re only at the cusp of what the community can accomplish.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2014 2:45 pm

    This is a great idea, Matt. I’m wondering a bit about the connection in the marketing between the selfies and the gift-making? Is it just that the day was a spirited moment for the school and the selfies were one of the features?

    • January 10, 2014 9:10 pm

      The selfies were a way to connect the parties happening around the country. The people at the various parties were engage with the school, the selfies allowed them to be engaged with each other – and the school.


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