How an alumni community celebrates milestones says a lot about what that community values, and how an alma mater inspires that community. Advancement teams that structure campaigns with these themes in mind are at a strong advantage.
Such is the case of the ongoing celebration of the 150th anniversary of my alma mater, Boston College. From Mass at Fenway Park to an ongoing series of academic symposiums, there is an overarching theme of the importance of service. With a plethora of global, local and in-the-classroom service opportunities at Boston College there is a strong focus on being “men and women for others” in the Jesuit tradition.
That is why I was particularly excited to learn about “150 on the Road,” a seven-city service project tour that gathers family and friends of the Boston College community together for “fellowship, networking and volunteering.” In total, the tour’s mission (which can be followed by the hashtag #WeAreBC150), is to package 150,000 meals for hungry families.
When checking-in with BC’s Director of Stewardship, Joy Moore, she explained that “150 on the Road” was inspired when the office was trying to, “find a way to bring a bit of the 150th anniversary spirit and excitement to alumni across the country.” Joy also explained the importance of the campaign being a “‘grassroots, family-friendly’ service project,” as it brings all ages into the celebration. Through an interactive site that was developed for the campaign, Joy and her team aim to share the emotion and unique stories that ensue via live-time tweets and an active Instagram gallery.
Another valuable component of this campaign is that alumni who are unable to participate also have the option to direct a monetary gift to specific service organizations that they were members of while on campus. For alumni who are normally frustrated with an inability to give to a particular group they were affiliated with, targeted giving can be a valuable way to bring them back into the greater conversation.
To pick what cities would be a part of the tour, Joy explained that her team took into consideration cities that have “large numbers of alumni and parents” and so far, has a seen a huge reception from alumni in numbers “greater than we ever expected!” Personally, I can’t wait to join in the action when the campaign comes back to campus this April.
If this is a campaign idea that sounds interesting to you, make sure to reach out to Stop Hunger Now. Also, please share ideas that your institution is using to celebrate their milestones and what themes your institution cherishes.