Building UWL philanthropy

University works to connect with young alumni

Sign that says "We heart symbol UWL donors"“Thank you for your support. UWL is a better place because of you.”

This was one message UWL students wrote on a postcard to donors on Nov. 15 — National Philanthropy Day. Writing thank you messages was just one way UWL is working to share the importance of philanthropy with current students this fall. “UWL Proud” is the name of the initiative behind building awareness of the impact of philanthropy through campus messaging and multiple events throughout the year.

“UWL will continue to rely on support from alumni. We have to teach students while they’re here about the importance of giving back,” says Taylor Wilmoth, annual fund coordinator in University Advancement. “We want to help students realize what donors do for campus and instill a sense of pride for UWL.”

The efforts come as UWL looks to increase its young alumni giving rate and thinks strategically about the future. “We are working to do a better job celebrating donors and their impact on students, faculty and staff. The hope is that this excitement will help students realize their potential impact and inspire them to give back when they graduate.”

Additional ways the university is focusing efforts on connecting with current students and recent graduates to share the importance of giving include: new student welcome letters, email messages, bulletin boards, posters and digital signs around campus — some featuring current UWL donors and their messages about giving. Students can also learn about scholarships and philanthropy during a monthly ice cream social in the union.

Three students stand with sign that says Thank you for your generosity.The development of a Student Philanthropy Council will be implemented in spring 2018. The volunteer-based group will be the ambassadors of the Advancement Office. The group will interact with alumni and donors, lead awareness events on campus and play an active role in the Campus Philanthropy “UWL Proud” initiative.

Finally, UWL Proud efforts intend to reach UWL employees, too. “The Campus Philanthropy effort is all encompassing,” Wilmoth adds. “Faculty and staff give back and support students in multiple ways and we want to recognize and highlight their efforts. Welcome letters have been sent to new UWL employees. “We want them to know they are part of the UWL family,” Wilmoth said.