40(+) Hours in the War Room

Giving Week illustration
by Katy Clements

If you wandered by the small conference room (henceforth dubbed “the war room”) the week of April 20, you probably saw me and Ally Hellenga huddled around our computers, frantically refreshing a Georgia Funder page on the TV screen … {insert panic}.

Let me back up–it all started with an idea for a university-wide giving week. Common in higher education, UGA had yet to host one. In an effort to increase alumni participation rates, it seemed like the time to finally dip our toe in this fundraising pressure-cooker. And when Coach Kirby Smart volunteers to help, you take him up on it!

On G-Day, Ally and I relocated the war room to the MLC. We may have gotten the better end of the deal while DARCOMM interns were on the field, we stayed nice and warm on an unseasonably cold April day overlooking Sanford Stadium. As the official launch of Giving Week, we saw a lot of chatter on social and watched gifts start rolling in!


Monday morning, the war room was in full swing with cameo appearances by Jay Stroman and Kelly Kerner (we hear they were trending on Twitter that day.) We were busy sharing announcement videos on social, coordinating donor recognition tweets from the UGA, Alumni Association and Kirby’s accounts, sending ThankView messages, revising emails, monitoring our Zoomph feed and fueling up on coffee.

Thankfully, we have such wonderful DAR partners who ensured we had plenty of sustenance (thanks, David and Evan!) Surviving on Scandinavian Swimmers and donuts, the week rolled on. We continued social activity on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram from multiple accounts while strategically segmenting our email audiences, parsing in new celebrity endorsements, arming our campus partners with promotional tools and coordinating new content.

It was a long week without windows, but Ally and I were accurately nicknamed “two peas in a pod”–a power couple, if you will. Giving Week ended up being a resounding success and we couldn’t have done it without the collaboration between so many different units–from Annual Giving, Advancement Services, Gift Accounting, Donor Relations, Alumni Relations, Corporate & Foundation Relations and more. We witnessed such incredible support from DAR and school and college partners all across campus. I am so grateful to work for such a collaborative, positive group with can-do attitudes! For more detailed results, check out Evan Tighe’s blog post. See you in the war room next year, team!


Check out our Instagram stories from the week.

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