Campus to enact Big Give, online fundraising event

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Jose Rodriguez/Courtesy

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UC Berkeley has begun advertising its newest online fundraising campaign, the Big Give, which encourages members of the community to donate to campus programs in a 24-hour period during the week of the Big Game.

The campaign will last for one day and officially begins at 9 p.m. Nov. 19. Donors, including alumni, students and staff can support campus programs of their choice by making donations online. The Big Give will be the first one-day, exclusively online fundraiser for the campus.

The Big Give’s focus is on large participation rather than a specific dollar goal, said Lishelle Blakemore, executive director of annual giving and regional programs.

“We’re really using this as a way for as many members of the Cal community to make a gift on that day to support the students and faculty and the research,” Blakemore said.

Jose Rodriguez, editorial director of marketing and communications, said the Big Give was developed as an innovative way to continue to engage the community after the end of the multiyear Campaign for Berkeley, which the campus ran from 2005 to 2013. The Campaign for Berkeley raised $3.13 billion — millions upward of its initial goal — with donations from 281,855 supporters.

Rodriguez said the campaign is an effort to “amass energy and enthusiasm and support” for the campus.

According to Jennifer Hernandez, director of annual giving of the Cal Alumni Association, the event was strategically scheduled to coincide with the week of the Stanford and Cal football game.

“We’re hoping to create a new tradition of giving during the Big Game week,” Rodriguez said.

Hernandez also noted that the Cal Alumni Association is hoping to draw in donations from young alumni, who she said are more likely to engage through social media.

According to Blakemore, to encourage people to donate to their favorite schools and programs and create competition among the different campus fundraising groups, the Big Give will award prizes to schools and programs that raise the most money or have the highest number of donors, as well as hold hourly contests throughout the day.

The UC Rally Committee assisted university relations in publicizing the event. Derek Schatz, chairman of the UC Rally Committee and UC Berkeley senior, said the timing of the Big Give will tap into the energy on campus during the Big Game. He said the committee is planning a week of events to create awareness for both the game and the campaign.

“(The purpose) is to create a culture of giving while people are still undergraduates — to get them to give back to what they feel connects them to Cal, whether it be an academic department or an athletic team,” Schatz said.

Contact Suhauna Hussain at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @suhaunah.