LAWRENCE — For 24 hours on Feb. 20, the gifts poured in to support the University of Kansas — 3,239 gifts totaling $1,771,135, records for both the number of gifts and total amount raised in one day.
The gifts came in during the third annual One Day. One KU. 24-hour giving campaign, surpassing last year’s totals of 2,635 gifts that raised $1,084,062.
Donors established 110 challenges and matches before Feb. 20 to encourage donations. Those gift incentives included a $50,000 match from the KU Endowment Board of Trustees for donations made to the Greater KU Fund and challenges to benefit a range of schools and programs from the Lawrence and Edwards campuses to the KU Medical Center campuses in Wichita, Salina and Kansas City, Kansas.
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod and Susan Girod contributed with a few challenges of their own, including the Twitter Hashtag Challenge, which unlocked $5,000 to provide resources for students to overcome unforeseen challenges to achieving their academic goals. The hashtag #OneDayOneKU surpassed the 2,020 tweets needed with 2,146 tweets to secure the funds.
“Jayhawks everywhere have once again shown their tremendous generosity for One Day. One KU. Not just in helping unlock the Chancellor’s Challenges for student support, but in pushing this campaign to new heights and setting a record for giving in 24 hours. Thank you,” Girod said.
Social media played a big role in this year’s campaign; giving via links on social media channels increased in 2020. One of those social media-savvy donors included alumna Kristen Mercado of Atlanta, who gave $500 through Instagram — the first gift made on that platform.
“The direct link from Instagram made it really simple, and the story was captivating,” Mercado said. “I studied abroad and would always love to support those initiatives, so when I saw that donations were being matched it was a no-brainer. I also think having a deadline — one day — just made me go for it.”
Even the pets of KU campaigned with cuteness in the first One Day. One KU. pet photo contest, which unlocked prizes that their owners donated to their area of choice. The first-place winner of the Instagram contest comes from an undeniable Jayhawk family: Phog the mini goldendoodle secured a $250 gift for School of Education scholarships from owner Kayla Willis of Lawrence.
“Year after year, Jayhawks’ generosity exceeds expectations,” said Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment. “This record year of giving for One Day. One KU. shows how much this university means to its supporters. We are truly grateful for every gift.”