BYU plans fundraising for annual ‘Giving Cougsday’

Giving Cougsday is a giving day for BYU that hopes to appeal to students, staff, and alumni.
Giving Cougsday is a fundraising day for BYU. The event appeals to students, staff and alumni who wish to donate to the university. (Ryan Turner)

This year’s “Giving Cougsday” fundraiser is a chance for donors to give back to BYU for 24 hours beginning on Nov. 29.

Tauailoto Ioane is a BYU annual giving coordinator who is overseeing this event. He said Giving Cougsday is based on the concept of Giving Tuesday.

“Giving Tuesday was created to remind us to think of others, as well as focus on giving back after two days focused on buying (Black Friday and Cyber Monday),” Ioane said in an email.

This is the second year BYU is encouraging people to make donations on a specific day, but Ioane said they referred to it as Giving Tuesday last year.

“The name this year allows us to make it BYU’s giving day and hopefully encourage more who have a fixation with BYU to give back to the fundraising priorities of the institution,” Ioane said.

Ioane said it’s possible the campaign day will later change to BYU’s founding day or another time of the year, which explains the name change from Giving Tuesday to Giving Cougsday.

BYU is offering a toolkit that includes logos and social media tactics for anyone who would like to promote Giving Cougsday. Ioane said this is an opportunity for everyone who would like to give back to the university.

“It’s such a great institution and has blessed so many,” Ioane said. “We hope that these donations will help bless many more through scholarships, mentorships, internships and other fundraising priorities of the institution.”

Ioane said they’ve been promoting this event through emails, social media ads and even phone calls during the day of the event. The majority of the donations will come online, but BYU is also expecting some donations over the phone.

“Our goals is 30k for 2016,” Ioane said. “We were able to reach a little over 20k thanks to generous donors (in 2015).”

Donors can designate their gifts to go to any account tied to BYU, including specific colleges or performing arts groups.

Ioane said one generous donor has already offered to match the first $100 of every gift, up to a total of $20,000. For example, if a $10 gift is made, the donor will match $10, and if a $200 gift is made, the donor will match first $100.

A BYU alum named Aaron Sherinian began Giving Tuesday several years ago, according to Michael Sackley of LDS Philanthropies. Sackley said Giving Tuesday has been a successful campaign that continues to grow every year.

Sackley said the University of Michigan had a Giving Blueday last year. The campaign was successful and inspired BYU’s change in emphasis from Giving Tuesday to Giving Cougsday.

“I think Michigan raised over a million dollars for their Giving Blueday, and it was their first year,” Sackley said.

Sackley said Giving Cougsday will benefit BYU students and make a big difference to anyone involved.

“Imagine how many scholarships we’d fund if we were to have a campaign as big as Michigan’s,” Sackley said. “We’d make a big difference for BYU students across the board.”

College is not easy and paying for it is difficult, Sackley said. Giving Cougsday can help students caught in difficult financial situations.

Sackley said LDS Philanthropies hopes this event will catch on and grow bigger each year.

“We’re looking forward to seeing where it goes and what happens with it,” Sackley said. “I think there are real opportunities for the future.”

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