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Giving Day Spotlight I University of Alaska Fairbanks

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

The University of Alaska, along with partners across the UA System in Anchorage and Juneau, broke numerous records this year with their Giving Day Campaign, UA GIVING DAY 2021 - 49 HOURS FOR ALASKA. We spoke with UAF Annual Giving and Alumni Engagement Manager, Sameksha “Simi” Khurana, a seasoned leader with fifteen years of experience in higher education about her secrets to success and 'aha!' moments from the campaign. Of the more than $1M raised system-wide at UA, UAF benefited from more than $660,000 given by 749 donors! (Visit UA's Giving Day website here.)


1. Participation vs. Dollar amount:

By focusing on participation rather than monetary donations, the UAF team was able to motivate alumni and donors and unlock more challenges than ever before.

"We decided to focus on participation this year. So the majority of the challenges were more focused on the number of people participating versus a dollar amount. We didn't say, 'If this fundraiser reaches $1,000...', we said, 'If 20 people give, XX amount will be unlocked.'"

2. A little action goes a long way:

Simi's team at UAF hosted one on-campus event, where all safety precautions were taken.

"Gathering people together really gets the momentum going! The goal there was to engage the audience and share the importance of giving, and the impact their giving has. We did this in two ways. One was to share how close we were to unlocking challenges. For example, we had an athletics challenge that needed two more people to give to be unlocked. A guest at the event called someone they knew who would be interested and they called another and within 20 minutes the challenge was unlocked."

Another creative way was to identify a specific cause.

"This year at UAF, we focused on First-Generation students, and leads for that program were in attendance to share the importance of giving to the first-generation fund for scholarships. The department had a table and guests could donate and add their name to a star for donating to that fund. [We also had] QR codes so guests could scan them to participate by showing their support."

3. Rethink your email timeline:

Emailing too much, too early, to your volunteers can be counterproductive. Simi's team at UAF saw their best results when they emailed closer to their Giving Day.

"What we learned from our communication timeline the previous year was that when we started too early, the message was sometimes lost. This year, we recruited volunteers a couple of weeks out from our UA Giving Day and then reminded them again 2-3 days out. We saw most of our volunteers sign up to be champions a day or two before UA Giving Day."

4. Incentives that motivate:

The University of Alaska worked with donors who generously donated prizes that champions could win by participating during Giving Day. Anyone who signed up to be champion in UA Giving Day, and shared on social media using specific hashtags, was entered into a drawing to win prizes. The incentive allowed the University to acquire verified information from their donors and alumni while promoting Giving Day.

"We had a number of prizes and incentives, including airline tickets, that motivated champions to get involved. Champions who signed up in Scalefunder and posted on Giving Days using the specified hashtags were entered into the drawing."

5. The more you prep, the easier it will be:

"I will say, it was a lot of planning. I started pretty much as soon as I got into the position, I want to say maybe by August, we had already started talking about this. So August, September, October, and then we had it in November. It was fun. I'm already thinking about what I want to do for next year!"


1. Google Sites:

The FAQ section of the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Giving Day site was created using Google Sites. This tool is free and promises to allow small teams to create and edit websites in minutes on either desktop or mobile.

2. Scalefunder:

The team also used Scalefunder, a platform that promises to combine dynamic storytelling and volunteer management into one easy-to-use tool. This tool was essential in keeping their audience involved with live updates on donations and participation!

3. LiveAlumni:

From tracking past scholarship beneficiaries' employment paths to highlighting successful alumni from specific programs - this Giving Day, keep in mind that stories are a top motivator for potential donors. Show them what their donation means in a tangible way by spotlighting alumni.


Get your alumni excited about giving by personalizing their engagement and messaging in a meaningful way. You can find these, and other popular pre-generated reports, inside the LiveAlumni Report tab.

1. Segment By Top Employers:

Click here to access report & login to LiveAlumni > select Yes on popup > Continue > Continue > Export

2. Segment By Specific Industries:

Click here to access report & login to LiveAlumni > select Yes on popup > Continue > insert desired industries > Continue > Export

3. Segment By Specific Locations:

Click here to access report & login to LiveAlumni > select Yes on popup > Continue > insert desired locations > Continue > Export

4. See Employments for Specific Education Majors:

Click here to access report & login to LiveAlumni > select Yes on popup > Continue > insert desired majors > Continue > Export

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Download PDF Version here:

LiveAlumni Giving Day Spotlight - UAF
Download • 3.60MB


A very special Thank You to Simi and the UAF team for sharing

their insight with Vanessa and the LiveAlumni community!



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