How William Peace University made history at its first Founder’s Day of Giving hosted virtually amidst the pandemic

William Peace University was faced with a dilemma when mid-way through their first-ever Founder’s Day of Giving, the university had to send students home and cancel all campus events in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis. The university’s Office of Advancement had to think on the go to adjust to this new normal and the team decided to complete its first-ever Founder’s Day of Giving online, raising over $42,800 in 24 hours.


of the fundraising goal exceeded


Total amount raised via online and offline gifts


Total number of online & offline donors

William Peace University grand welcome to the Class of 2020 virtually with Almabase

About William Peace University

Founded in 1857, William Peace University is a nationally-ranked, award-winning private college in Raleigh, North Carolina with an alumni strength of over 12,000+. It offers undergraduate degrees in 30 majors and the School of Professional Studies (SPS) offers accelerated bachelor degrees that are online or hybrid for working adults. 

The university’s mission is to prepare students for careers in the organizations of tomorrow. Rooted in the liberal arts tradition, the student develops an appreciation for life-long learning, a focus on meaningful careers, and skills for ethical citizenship.

What challenges did William Peace University face?

1. Unexpected coronavirus outbreak led to campus events being put on hold

The Advancement Office at William Peace University had planned an entire schedule of in-person events during the Founder’s Day of Giving but, it all took an unexpected turn when mid-day, the university had to send students home and cancel all these planned events due to the alarming coronavirus outbreak. This sudden turn of events posed a challenge for the university and the Advancement Office had to think quickly to adjust to the new normal.

2. Increased need for financial aid due to COVID-19

With the onset of the pandemic, William Peace University anticipated an increased need for financial aid to support faculty, staff, and students through this crisis. The university is also accountable for ensuring that no student leaves college due to financial concerns and continues to receive the education that he or she deserves.

3. A large segment of alumni were disengaged

In 2011, William Peace University transitioned from a single-gender college to a co-educational university. This transition resulted in a large segment of alumni disengaging. The Advancement Office, therefore, had the massive task of reacquiring these donors and educating young alumni and current students about the importance of philanthropy.

4. Limited staff resources

While William Peace University has a 6-person Advancement team, the driving forces behind alumni engagement & fundraising programs at the university are - Ellie Barker, Director of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving and Maya Bryant, Annual Giving & Engagement Manager. The duo was in-charge of catering to 12,000+ alumni while shouldering the responsibility of hosting the university’s first-ever Giving Day amidst a global pandemic.

What was William Peace University able to achieve after implementing Almabase?

1. Set a record for crossing the biggest giving goal in university history by 200 donors and $40,000 in funds raised

As the university had to mid-way take a decision of going online with its first-ever Founder’s Day of Giving, the Advancement Office quickly ramped up its digital marketing strategy. The institution set up a branded giving page on its alumni website to collect gifts and made brilliant use of emails and social media throughout the campaign. With this strategy, the university was able to cross its highest giving goal of $18,570 by 200 donors and $$40,000 in funds raised in a day. 

$42832 - Total amount raised from online & offline gifts
217 - Total number of online & offline donors
$16385 - Amount raised online

Head over to William Peace University’s alumni website to view the Founder’s Day of Giving campaign

The university planned way ahead and announced the campaign to its community via social media and emails. Here’s a quick look at some of the creative emails and social media messages that were shared with Peace alumni before the campaign.

William Peace University announced its first Founder’s Day of Giving Campaign on Instagram & Facebook on March 2nd, 10 days before the campaign. View the post on Facebook.

William Peace University also sent an email where the University President Brian C. Ralph appealed to the Peace community to honor their founder and continue his legacy by contributing to the Founder’s Day of Giving on March 12th

Here’s another countdown email that was sent to the Peace community one day before the Giving Day campaign

While the university had to send home every student on campus and also cancel the previously planned events for alumni mid-way through the campaign, the Advancement Office made sure to keep its community engaged with frequent social media updates and email reminders. 

Here’s a fun video of Jodi Stamey, WPU VP for Advancement, urging alumni to honour their founder, Mr. William Peace’s legacy and support the university. Head over to Facebook to see the post.

2. Host a successful stand-alone Giving day online with the support of its community

William Peace University was not only able to efficiently set up the Founder’s Day of Giving online, the Advancement Office was also able to maximize the impact of the gifts made with the support of its loyal community. 

The university made use of gift challenges and class leaderboards to drive more alumni to participate and raise funds to contribute towards the continuation of the Peace legacy.

Highest challenge gift for $10,000 by Board of Trustee unlocked on reaching $10000 total gifts
Alumni Donor #50 unlocked a $1,500 gift by Alumni Board Members
Highest number of gifts contributed by class years ranging from 1960-1969 amounting to $5,957

Challenges unlocked during the campaign

William Peace University was able to drive competition amongst class years with Class Leaderboards 

The university also motivated alumni via email to help unlock pledges and challenges from The Alumni Association Board of Directors & Board of Trustees

William Peace University’s loyal supporters also helped boost the reach of the campaign via social media and brought in more gifts

3. Organize virtual engagement activities that keep alumni involved

With the university’s alumni, staff, and students all confined to their homes due to the nationwide lockdown, William Peace University had to think out-of-the-box to keep them engaged and motivated enough to donate. 

The institution quickly pivoted to creating virtual engagement initiatives to drive participation from constituents. The Advancement Office created the Peace Cares Fund to garner support for all the unexpected costs that the university has to incur due to the extraordinary circumstances of the global coronavirus outbreak.

William Peace University has been incredibly successful in making its programming easily accessible to each one of its constituents via virtual initiatives throughout the pandemic. The institution has truly dedicated itself to supporting its community and providing immense value to all members. 

Here are some awesome virtual events that William Peace University has organized for its community members since the global pandemic took over everyone’s lives.

William Peace University welcomes its Class of 2020 alumni with a Virtual Toast event. Read more about how the university organized this event here. 

The university roped in its former Alumni Board President, Alli Leggett '01 to organize a virtual yoga session for alumni to join from the comfort of their home. Learn more about the virtual event here.

The university launched a Virtual Book Club focused on professional development and career advancement for students and alumni. The group acts as a community that collectively sets and realizes career-related goals. Learn more about the virtual event here.

William Peace University continues to engage its constituents and boost fundraising round the year with Almabase. Head over to William Peace University’s alumni website to learn more.

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