For the love of sprinkles

- Sarah Tarnopolsky

Credit: UVic Photo Services

Bringing the UVic community together for a fun giving day

Each year that Jim Dunsdon, associate vice-president student affairs, has been the honourary chair of UVic’s Giving Tuesday initiative he’s grown prouder and more passionate about the event’s mission and its ability to bring people together.

Part of what makes Giving Tuesday at UVic so powerful is the opportunity for alumni and other community members to feel connected to the many critically important initiatives underway at UVic that are making a difference in the lives of people across our country and around the world. That feeling of being a part of something special, something that bring us together as a community, is so important during this time.
Jim Dunsdon, Associate Vice-President Student Affairs

Over the past five years, the event has become a unique, fun and heartwarming tradition that increasingly inspires support. This year, it raised $148,260 for 20 different funds on campus. That money will support students, power exciting research and expand outreach programs that encourage safe and healthy communities.

Another key metric of the event’s success—participation—has also been rising steadily. Event organizers knew this aspect would be the biggest challenge they faced in 2020. They couldn’t rely on footfall in the quad, or passers-by in the Jamie Cassels Centre like previous years. Instead, they structured plans around the opportunity to reach different members of the UVic community in a variety of virtual spaces, utilizing video, social media, email, phone and even Survey Monkey to interact with people. When all trackable participation methods were totalled up, the numbers were surprisingly higher than in 2019. Over 4,000 people participated by donating, buying coffee, playing Campus Quest online, sending Giving Grams or through social media.

This was also the first year that donors could select from such a wide breadth of destinations for their gifts, while students chose where to allocate sponsorship dollars through the online game. Website visitors could closely follow the progress thermometers for each fund throughout the day. This resulted in some friendly competition between faculties and units. The Christine Welsh Scholarship in Humanities had the most donors, closely followed by the Women in Science fund. The Transgender Studies fund raised the most money, which shows how the added incentive of matching donations and challenge gifts, along with peer-to-peer encouragement, played a role in the excitement and success of the day.

Although primarily an initiative of the Development Office, employees from all over campus joined the organizing committee and many campus partners lent their support. An impressive list of eleven external sponsors provided in-kind or financial support to leverage giving and participation.

As President Kevin Hall explained in his thank you video message, all these types of participation are like sprinkles on a cupcake. Most gifts to Giving Tuesday were smaller donations— the average was $131 and the mode was $50—but they show what a collective effort can achieve. The best part about the enduring sprinkle metaphor is, even though there were literally thousands of sprinkles this year (a large proportion of them sprinkled virtually), there will always be room for more next year!

By participating in Giving Tuesday you sprinkled impact right across campus, even in the president’s office! In this video, Dr. Kevin Hall expresses his thanks to everyone who took part.


In this story

Keywords: philanthropy, administrative, student life

People: Jim Dunsdon, Kevin Hall

Publication: The Ring

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