A simple thanks breaks record

More than 650 students-a record number-participated in UGA’s Thank a Donor Day on April 14. Coordinated by the Office of Donor Relations and Stewardship, Thank a Donor Day gives members of the UGA community an opportunity to show their gratitude to those who support the university through private donations. 

Celebrating its fifth year, TADD has solidified itself as a campus tradition and has been added to the Student Alumni Association’s G Book, the university’s official traditions handbook.

“Thank a Donor Day began with a simple idea,” said Tony Stringer, director of donor relations & stewardship, whose goal each year is to promote a culture of philanthropy on campus. “We weren’t sure how UGA students would respond, but we were blown away from the start. We learned that if you create easy and fun opportunities for students to express their gratitude, they will rise to the occasion.”

TADD educates the UGA community about the effect private donations have on university life. The university is consistently ranked high on Kiplinger’s list of public universities with the best value for cost of attendance; however, private support has become increasingly important to the university. Many students rely on private donations for tuition, books, study-abroad experiences and living expenses. 

Private donations also help fund more than 180 chairs and professorships across departments and disciplines and more than $21 million in gifts went to building, maintaining and updating facilities on campus last year.

Students write and sign thank you cards on Thank A Donor Day. The card will be sent to donors. (Peter Frey/UGA)Students write and sign thank you cards on Thank a Donor Day. (Peter Frey/UGA)

During TADD, a record-number of students signed a large thank you card to donors, wrote more than 650 thank you notes and created posters to show their appreciation. Many schools and colleges showed their pride by creating unique messages for their specific donors. 

The College of Environment and Design came prepared with a poster that illustrated their students’ creativity and eye for design. 

“What most impressed me about this poster was that it was 100 percent student-driven,” said Jennifer Messer, director of development and alumni relations at CED. “Our students really understand the importance of donor support and how impactful private gifts are to the college.”

A video recounting the day and sharing students’ messages of appreciation was emailed to more than 40,000 donors following the event. 

“Donors appreciate the effort and are often inspired to continue their support,” said Stringer. “At the same time, participants find an unexpected satisfaction in saying thank you.”