Holy Cross Breaks Participation Records with ‘Give Purple’ Challenge

More than 6,200 donors contribute $1.94 million for all aspects of life on campus
February 11th, 2016 by 


In the days and hours leading up to the College’s first-ever weekend fundraising challenge, one question was on everyone’s mind: Could the Holy Cross Community do it?

The answer — arriving only 12 hours into the 43-hour Give Purple challenge — was a resounding yes!

Alumni and parents, faculty, staff, and students came together in record numbers on Feb. 5-6 to meet the challenge issued by a group of alumni from the Class of 1982, who pledged to give $500,000 if the College received gifts from 2,500 supporters in one weekend. Not only was the challenge met, but it was exceeded by almost 250 percent, resulting in gifts from more than 6,200 donors and $1.94 million raised to be used for all aspects of life on campus, from financial aid and academic programs to faculty resources and athletics.

“This was a new platform and approach for Holy Cross, but we are building on a long and proud tradition of alumni participation in giving to the College,” said Tracy Barlok, vice president for Advancement at Holy Cross. “Holy Cross regularly sees a participation rate above 50 percent annually, which puts us in the top 10 colleges and universities in the country. This event was particularly exciting as we saw alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents, coaches and friends all unite to push us beyond our wildest hopes. We are very grateful and very proud of the heart of this community.”

Give Purple, which appealed to the Holy Cross Community to show their pride through a gift, took place during Winter Homecoming weekend, fueling enthusiasm both on campus and through social media. Holy Cross partnered with Embryo Creative, a Boston-based firm started by Stephanie Jeskey ’01, for video and creative concepts. Alumni, faculty, staff and students shared their passion for Holy Cross and challenged each other to participate in the Challenge at athletic events, regional alumni club gatherings, and on social media using #GivePurpleHC. The hub of online activity was GiveCampus, a social fundraising platform used by more than 50 colleges and universities across the United States.

Give Purple was the most successful campaign ever hosted by GiveCampus, breaking records for most donors to a campaign, greatest participation from alumni who graduated in the past 15 years and becoming the first campaign to receive donations from all 50 states.

“Holy Cross’ Give Purple challenge was one of the most spectacular philanthropic events we have ever seen,” said Kestrel Linder, co-founder and CEO at GiveCampus. “Holy Cross broke every record imaginable and set a new standard for short-term challenges in higher education. We’re not aware of another challenge that has had greater participation from an institution’s alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and friends.”

Social media played a large role in keeping the momentum rolling, as alumni and students shared their reasons for giving via tweets, Facebook posts and short video clips, and challenged classmates and teammates to make a gift. More than one-third of all traffic to the challenge was generated by individuals sharing with one another on social media or through email. Check out some of the social media activity below.

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