Coe College is a small, private, liberal arts college in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. With an enrollment of 1,500 and 15,000 alumni records, Coe is not a large institution, but it has a dedicated alumni network with a strong history of engagement.
Coe returned home with grand day of giving ideas after learning about the success of #BigOrangeGive at Sizzler 2014. Unfortunately, they were on a limited budget. Nicknaming their campaign #PoorMansBigOrangeGive, they contacted their account manager about how they could get the most bang for their $1,000 budget. They focused on creating a custom template and #KohawkDay was born.
With no expectations, the first #KohawkDay in 2015, raised more than $127,000.
Since their first effort had proven successful, they set the 2016 goal to increase the amount raised in 2016 by 20%. Another goal was to use the 2016 #KohawkDay to connect with current students and employees.
To make this day a success, Coe knew they needed buy-in from multiple groups. Fortunately, their constituents accepted the challenge. To establish a connection and create buzz with current students, faculty, and staff, Coe created a campus hub on the day of giving where anyone on campus could stop by and track the campaign’s progress. They hosted city celebrations across the country that occurred on the actual day of giving. These alumni gatherings averaged between 20-40 attendees.
After sending hourly emails on #KohawkDay 2015, Coe reduced the number of emails sent in 2016 and saw the average open rate increase by more than 3%. The four emails sent included a reminder email sent the day before, a kick-off email the morning of the event, a 3 p.m. email about the afternoon challenge grants, and a “bring it home” email at 7 p.m.
Coe utilized more than 50 social media ambassadors and sent promotional messaging ideas out before the event. They dedicated one staff person exclusively to social media on #KohawkDay who used HootSuite to schedule hourly posts.
Additional efforts included: hosting 13 alumni watch parties across the country, using the iModules’ campaign progress indicator to track funds raised, and recognizing the top donor classes.
- Coe raised more than $330,000, of which $190,000 came from donations and $140,000 came through challenge grants. The total raised was a 160% increase over 2015, far exceeding the original 20% goal.
- More than 600 donors participated, of which 109 were first time donors and 262 were young alumni donors, who are alumni between 2005-2016
- 141 gifts from faculty and staff
- 700 Facebook reactions, 101 Instagram posts, 258 tweets
- 1,913 video views on YouTube