GW programs compete online for donor dollars

Clarification appended

The University’s fundraising office launched an online competition for almost two dozen GW programs Monday, in which an alumnus will donate up to $20,000 to the winning group.

The online crowdsourcing challenge, called GW High 5 after its “raise high” spirit campaign, will dole out a total of $39,000 to the five groups that tally the most votes online.

The 23 contenders brought in more than 2,600 votes in the first 48 hours, Executive Director of Annual Giving Rebecca Trump said.

Among the contestants are GW libraries, student organizations, study abroad, career services and the Power and Promise fundraising initiative. The Hatchet was also selected to participate in the challenge. GW’s libraries reached first place after the first two days.

The annual giving office will announce the top five on April 22, which will then compete against one another for the highest amount of individual donors to their causes until May 10. The program that receives the largest number of student, alumni, parent, faculty or staff donors – regardless of the amount of the donations – will win $20,000 on top of individual donations.

The office will announce the final standings the week of May 13.

Anne Ward, Gelman library’s director of communications, said the libraries would use about $1,000 per seat to buy a collection of Adobe tools, such as Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and about $8,000 per year to license statistical software available to all students.

“The fact that we are leading the pack at the moment reminds us all just how many individuals count on our support,” Ward said.

Board of Trustees member Steve Ross, who graduated in 1981, donated the $39,000 in honor of GW Law School alumnus J. Wendell Crain. Ross is also the chair of the Board’s Development and Alumni Relation Committee.

Crain, who graduated in 1956, urged Ross to volunteer at GW in the 1980s and later served with him on the GW School of Business Board of Advisors until Crain’s death in 2006.

“There were many others in the GW community who took a chance on me at a young age. Now it’s my turn to remember where I came from,” Ross, a GW School of Business alumnus, said.

Holly Hall, an editor for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, said social media-driven initiatives have become more popular in the last five to 10 years.

“I do think that that is being done more – coming up with a menu and letting people vote – because it’s getting people more engaged,” Hall said.

This article was clarified April 4, 2013 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet reported that if Gelman Library wins funds in the challenge, it would spend $1,000 on Adobe tools, such as photoshop and Dreamweaver. This article was updated to clarify that the tools would cost $1,000 per seat.

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