Best In Show

This year’s edition of the D.O.G. (Day of Giving) is one for the record books

Numbers don’t lie. Whether measured by how many gifts were received, the number of states from which donors hailed or the overall amount raised, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s 2018 Day of Giving was a smashing success. Once again, the D.O.G., as the event is acronymically and affectionately known at UWSP, brought out the best in Pointers near and far.

Although only in its third year, the D.O.G. shows signs of tremendous growth as a fundraising vehicle. More than $150,000 was raised in a 24-hour period on May 1, with donors from 29 states making a grand total of 227 gifts. To put this in perspective, the previous one-day record for giving at UWSP was 123 gifts, set during the D.O.G. during its inaugural year (2016). This year’s total marks an increase of 121 percent. The number of states represented nearly doubled.

“Our Pointer family rose to the occasion,” says Nicole Pare ’14, marketing and communications manager for advancement and D.O.G. organizer. “This day was a vote of confidence in our students and UWSP in general.”

The Day of Giving began as a complement to the university’s Then, Now, & Forever capital campaign, the public phase of which was launched in April 2016 and, with a year to run, stands on the cusp of meeting its $30 million goal.

“Oftentimes in campaigns you hear about the major gifts, like the $4 million endowment from Sentry Insurance. However, every gift made during the Capital Campaign counts toward the end goal,” Pare says. “A Day of Giving helps shed light on that and celebrates all the good that can come from a lot of smaller gifts and not just the major ones.”

Right from the start, the D.O.G. has been about meeting challenges and having fun while doing good. Pointers are encouraged to raise money for the university not only by donating directly, but by participating in social media activities. A donor or donors agree beforehand to pay a certain amount when an individual completes a certain activity. For instance, every selfie taken in UWSP gear on the day of the event and posted with the hashtag #UWSPGivesBack translates into one dollar given in support of student scholarships.

Generous donors also step forward and issue dollar-for-dollar matches.

In 2016, Pat and Leslie Arendt matched every gift made during that year’s Day of Giving, for a total of $50,000 raised. Proving that you really can teach an old D.O.G. new tricks, organizers have switched that concept up a bit, expanding to a series of match challenges designed to benefit particular areas of campus. This year, new content was released on social media every hour, and a new challenge was issued to meet the match. Specific “power hours” revolved around, and benefitted, the Alumni Association, the College of Natural Resources, the College of Letters and Science, UWSP Athletics, the College of Fine Arts and Communication, the
College of Professional Studies and the Division of Student Affairs.

“Special thanks to Mike Pucci, Brad Duckworth, Tina Hill, Bill Schierl, Sarena Melotte, Dianne Pleuss and Alumni Association Board members for their generosity to support the Day of Giving power hours,” says Pare.

In conjunction with D.O.G. fundraising activities, organizers encourage Pointers to take part in Day of Service events that have them giving their time and talents in support of the university. In 2018, alumni chapters across Wisconsin and as far away as Phoenix, Arizona filled backpacks with food for children in need, cleaned up roadside trash, and baked hundreds of cookies with teens looking to gain work experience and leadership skills, among other volunteer activities.

Plans are already in the works for the next edition of the D.O.G., slated for May 7, 2019. This year’s event looks to be a tough act to follow, but Pare firmly believes her team, and Pointers everywhere, are up to the challenge.

“We plan to keep the momentum going,” she says. “We’re on the lookout for matching donors to sponsor power hours, to continue the tradition of having exclusive content for each hour. We also hope to add more challenges, such as looking to have someone from every state make a gift. As we have since the start of the D.O.G., we will continue to hold the Pointer Pride Selfie Challenge, to share our Pointer pride all over social media.

“We have set the bar high, but our Pointer family will step up to the plate.”