BYU Giving Cougsday breaks donor record for most participation

Dallin Wilks
A crowd of BYU first-year students walk down campus after the convocation. (Photo courtesy of Dallin Wilks)

BYU’s annual Giving Cougsday broke records this year as it surpassed its goal of 2,300 donors and raised more than $400,000 for students scholarships.

The event, coordinated by Philanthropies, a department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, took place on Oct. 24 with nearly 2,500 participants donating.

Participation was greater than any previous year because of the ambitious goal Philanthropies set for the event, according to Matt Fales, the annual giving specialist with Philanthropies.

“We decided it’d be kind of a fun play on words to do like 2300 donors and 2023. And we exceeded that goal, which was a lot of fun just to see the numbers coming in during the day and leading up to it,” Fales said.

One of the contributing factors for the record breaking number of participants came through the collaboration between campus partners and alumni chapters from around the globe, according to Fales.

“We just got a lot more people involved this year than we ever have. And there are a lot of moving parts that ended up just coming together, which is really neat to see,” Fales said.

Philanthropies Manager of Annual Giving Tauailoto Ioane applauded the work of the colleges and people on campus who helped spread the news about the event to alumni on and off campus.

“It was a lot of coordination with partners. So colleges and people on campus just did a great job of using their channels of communication and getting the word out and letting audiences know about it,” Ioane said.

Ioane said that another contributing factor for the success of the event came from the concentrated effort to talk to people face to face.

“The campaign is mainly digital, and it always has been. But we started to, over the years, work more in person with people so that it’s not just us pushing out the email or our social media polls, but others on campus,” Ioane said.

Chemical engineering professor W. Vincent Wilding said he noticed the concentrated effort to publicize the event more than previous years.

“I think it had more publicity this year and I’ve heard about it in previous years, but this year there seemed to be more emphasis, more communications, more of, I guess, a concerted effort to get a lot of people to know about it and to potentially contribute for sure,” Wilding said.

According to the Philanthropies department, donors gave gifts from 49 different states and helped fund the equivalent of 126 scholarships for BYU students.

Wilding said he donated to the event because he was reminded of the opportunities he was given as a student at BYU.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for all of us to to contribute and to kind of pay it forward, so to speak,” Wilding said.

Fales said the impact of all of the funds raised from the event is important in giving students the opportunity to succeed.

“I think giving students the opportunity to fulfill their dream of maybe even perhaps even being a first generation college student, but also just coming to college is a huge deal,” Fales said.

According to Fales, the record breaking numbers are a testament to the BYU community, but the impact to students is immeasurable.

“It’s not about the numbers but about the people who we help with the scholarships,” Fales said.

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