Photo by Matthew Claybrook
This year, Trinity’s annual donation fundraiser, the 1869 Challenge, brought in a record number of gifts, surpassing the previous two years’ totals.
The first 2869 Challenge occurred three years ago. The Challenge allows any member of the Trinity community to donate during the 1,869-minute long timeframe. Through each gift category, donors can restrict where their money goes, giving to a specific organization, department or scholarship fund. This year, the 1869 Challenge raised $556,016 from 4,711 gifts, surpassing last year’s total of $526,365 from 2,800 gifts and the total from two years ago which was $354,684 from 1,743 gifts.
Michael Bacon, vice president for Alumni Relations and Development, oversaw the 1869 Challenge.
“This 1869 Challenge is kind of a community-wide fundraising moment. A lot of the times colleges do giving days where they really try to encourage all of the groups that are connected to the school to give. This is our third year to do it and it’s been amazing to see the growth,” Bacon said.
To gain more donations through the challenge, Bacon and his team focused on creating additional challenges to engage the community.
“To prepare for this, the staff works for six months not only putting together all the messaging and the plans but also there are all these challenges that you create. Part of what you’re trying to do is at the academic department level, at the student organization-level and also at the athletics team level you’re trying to get people into a competitive mindset, so they’re trying to set a new record or reach a new goal,” Bacon said.
Mock Trial Club was the winner of the student organization category in the 1869 Challenge. Because the group received a large number of donations due to early planning, they received $500 for their organization.
“It took a lot of work and a lot of coordination among the officer board and general members. Last year, we actually came second, but we didn’t know it was going to be a thing until the day-of, so this year we knew it was coming in advance, like two weeks in advance, so we prepared. We had coordinated social media posts by our social media coordinator. We also asked our coach and had the entire team ask parents, ask friends, ask any kind of relative to try and get as many donations as possible,” said Wilfrid Nelson, junior and vice president of Mock Trial Club.
Mock Trial has already started spending the donation money.
“We kind of are already spending the money. Currently, Mock Trial is buying textbooks for our club in order to more effectively teach our members how to present and how to adhere to Mock Trial procedures when we’re actually presenting and competing in regional competitions,” Nelson said.
The 1869 Challenge allows current members of student organizations to donate money to their own organization. Some organizations took advantage of this as a way to gather more donations as a way to support their club.
“Obviously with students donating there is a limit, and you don’t want to push everyone, but we did ask our student members if possible if they could donate to donate and a lot of us got into it and started donating the $5 amount just to increase our amount of donations,” Nelson said.
Zeta Chi sorority won first place in the Fraternity and Sorority Life category. After receiving 450 gifts, the group received a pizza party for their current members.
“I don’t think there was really any strategy going into it. I think our alumni donors realized we were climbing in the ranks and the competitive spirit kicked in and everyone kind of started donating and going wild with that,” said senior Hana Kruger, president of Zeta Chi.
Additional reporting by Gabriella Garriga