Virginia Tech’s annual Giving Day is the best opportunity for the college’s departments, schools, and programs to advocate for themselves to raise funds. This year’s event will begin at noon on Wednesday, February 24, and continue to noon on Thursday, February 25.

Giving Day is intended to be a fun opportunity to come together in support of the university’s programs, The tone should be relaxed, inclusive, and focused on the opportunity to do some good. The day also offers the chance for friendly, playful competition among our college’s departments, schools, and programs.

We’re hoping you might be willing to encourage giving to your programs by serving as ambassadors; posting to social media; sending emails; creating challenges within your department, school, or program; and doing other creative outreach.

Ambassador Outreach
You can opt to be a Giving Day ambassador or to encourage others — whether faculty members, administrators, alumni, or students — to do so. Ambassadors receive personal links that help them track how well their outreach efforts are performing. Step-by-step instructions can be found here.

You may want to create a Giving Day ambassador link for your unit, which would allow you to track the success of your outreach efforts in real time. Alternatively, you can use the college link in your emails and social media posts:

Ideally, photos used should tell a story without requiring a description. University Relations suggests that the images used be bright and positive.

Please note that, in the context of the pandemic, University Relations is stipulating that any people shown in photos used in conjunction with Giving Day must be wearing masks. The college’s Giving Day 2021 Starter Kit and Resources folder has some possible imagery; please check back for additional options in the coming days.

Social Media Outreach
The official hashtag, #VTGivingDay, will bring your posts and tweets to a larger audience on the main Giving Day page.

You can share posts from the university’s and college’s accounts. The alumni social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) will do the heavy lifting on Giving Day, with the main university accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) reserved for milestone posts. The college will also post on its social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn).

For social media outreach, the communications team has created an online library of assets that includes the Giving Day 2021 logos, social media covers, photos, and illustrations. We will continue to add to this library through Giving Day, including a sampling of preview posts and give-now posts tailored to our college, departments, schools, and programs. (Please let Paula Byron know if you would like any help in customizing artwork or developing posts.)

Fund Details
In addition to the college’s annual fund, the fund designation options for our college include annual funds for all eleven departments and three schools. Other fund designations include Adult Day Services, the Center for Gerontology, the Center for Humanities, the Child Development Center for Learning and Research, The Marching Virginians, Music, Property Management, Theatre Arts, the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, and three funds for support of undergraduates: the Internship Fund, the Research Fund, and the Study Abroad Fund.

Programs that do not appear on this list have the option of encouraging early giving through this link:  Your prospective donors should select the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences under “Select an area,” then “Other” under “Select a fund.” They can then type in any designation. Once Giving Day launches, only the designated funds in the dropdown menu will be available to donors. At that point, any donors who want to dedicate a gift to a particular program or scholarship can call 800-533-1144 to have their gift applied to their fund of choice.

Once Giving Day starts, when potential donors to your programs go directly to the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Giving Day page, the “Donate Now” button will automatically prepopulate with our college, so donors need to navigate only one dropdown menu. If they start with the main Giving Day page, they will need to select our college on the first dropdown donation menu (Area of Support), then choose your program on the second dropdown menu (Fund Designation).

Outreach to Alumni
Please note that Advancement is managing communication with all Virginia Tech alumni. Our graduates will receive two emails with the dean as signatory — one on February 17 and the other on the afternoon of February 24.

In addition, the college will be including a Giving Day preview in its monthly alumni enewsletter, slated for February 22.

Challenge Grants
As always, the university places great emphasis on participation; donors can participate for as little as $5. To encourage giving, the university is sponsoring more than a dozen challenge grants.

In addition, Dean Laura Belmonte will offer a $500 challenge grant to the department, school, or program with the highest number of donors and a $500 challenge grant to the department, school, or program with the greatest amount raised. The second-place entries in each category will receive $250 each. (Keep an eye on — and ear out for — The Marching Virginians; in 2018 and 2019 they marched away with first place in both categories!)

Several alumni and friends are offering their own college-specific challenges. James “Jay” Muscatello (Engineering ’80), for example, will donate $5,000 to The Marching Virginians as soon as the Spirit of Tech reaches 330 donors. Donna Mitchell (English ’83) will donate $5,000 to the Department of English once the 100-gift threshold is met. And Craig Nesbit has issued a $5,000 challenge to the School of Communication. The full list of challenges can be found here.

More to Come!
Keep checking back to this page and to the Giving Day 2021 Starter Kit and Resources folder for more details. And please email Brian Plum with any questions about challenge grants or fund designations, and Paula Byron with any questions about assets, social media best practices, or promotion opportunities.

Good luck — and have fun!