You have probably received a letter or phone call from WIU, asking for support. WIU alumni are very generous to their alma mater….and now students are getting involved in that action…the act of giving. This week is National Philanthropy Week. And for the first time, WIU is observing National Philanthropy Week as students celebrate alumni who have been supportive of Western.
The Director of Annual Giving Tim Hallinan said WIU not only wants to promote philanthropy but the university also wants to celebrate those who have donated to the University. “The alumni give back to the school every single year…scholarships and academic programs…other things that tuition doesn’t cover for students,” Hallinan said.
Alumni giving helps cover many expenses for students. What some people don’t realize is that tuition only covers about half of the educational expenses for the semester. “That is why gifts are so important; they fill in where state dollars fall short. [These donations] are what keeps [WIU] affordable. No matter where we go, tuition is high; but Western makes the better value. We want to promote students in that way,” Hallinan said. Therefore, National Philanthropy Week is organized so students can thank donors for their gifts and contributions towards Western.
Also this week, students can learn about the importance of giving back to WIU now…which they’ll hopefully continue after they graduate. Students were able to stop by the University Union today to visit with members of the Foundation Staff. They answered questions about the Annual Fund and the importance of giving back to Western. “We want to be a vehicle for students to participate in the Annual Fund if they want to. Students can give to any area in the university, just like alumni,” Hallinan explained.
Also in the Union, students learned about departmental featured philanthropy students. The individual students who are chosen to be featured philanthropy students are promoted in the departmental direct mail campaigns. He explained that “we felt it was important that when we mail donors and all alumni, that they meet someone who has been impacted by their giving,” Hallinan began. “It’s been very successful, and we’re getting a lot of good feedback from alumni. They said it’s nice to see where their money is going. The students are honored,” he said. Today, students were able to cast their votes for the spring departmental featured philanthropy students.
Some people don’t realize the importance of National Philanthropy Week, and that’s why Hallinan and the Foundation and Development Staff are hoping to highlight the significance of giving back to Western all this week. “Information will be sent out to students,” Hallinan began, “Students can text-to-give, and they can also do it online. Text-to-give is the most convenient way to give. Students want more of an immediate way to make an impact. We’ve never really done that before,” he said. Text-to-give is a simple way for students to donate. You text a number such as GOWESTERN, PURPLE, ROCKY, or WIU, with the following code number, 41010, and you send $10 to Western…it’s as easy as that.
Hallinan said that asking students to donate is more about participation than the amount raised. “Asking for $5 is quite a bit from a student. If twelve-thousand students donate just a dollar, or even $5, it makes a huge impact. They can donate at a level that’s comfortable for them,” he said.
National Philanthropy Week is happening all over the country, but right now is a good time for WIU alumni and students to give back to the university. “Philanthropy is voluntary, but a cool thing is that this is really student-driven. The students are the ones who are making this happen…and they are doing very well,” Hallinan said.
The marquee outside Macomb’s University Union scrolls the total donations towards scholarships every day! You can stop at any time to see how much has been donated to WIU. If you want to read more about National Philanthropy Week, visit http://www.wiu.edu/news/newsrelease.php?release_id=10262. If you are interested in giving or want to find out more information about giving, visit http://www.wiu.edu/giving.