Media Advisory: WFU raised $500K in 24-hour giving blitz, shattering goals

Yesterday Wake Forest University raised more than $500,000 for the Wake Forest Fund, shattering goals in its first-ever 24-hour fundraising blitz called #Wake500.

Thanks to the generosity of more than 1,800 donors – 1,300 more than the initial goal of 500 and the most ever in a single day in the school’s history – the money will support key University priorities such as student aid, faculty development, emerging programs for students, library and technology resources, and facilities renovations through the annual fund.

Because tuition and the endowment cover only a portion of what is needed to sustain and enhance our tradition of excellence, gifts to the annual fund ensure support to the University’s most critical needs.

Rather than taking a traditional approach to a 24-hour pledge drive, the Office of University Advancement engaged alumni and friends in unexpected ways:

  • Developing a modern motion graphics video and webpage presence that confronted conventional hesitations about giving to the annual fund with an unconventional presentation that included zombies and hot dogs.
  • Spearheading an email teaser campaign and follow-up phone calls to motivate day-of giving.
  • Using social media – including the Twitter hashtag #wake500 and a Facebook album of real donors sharing their personal “I give because…” stories.

The initial challenge was to raise $100,000 from 500 donors. One alumnus had agreed to give a matching donation of $100,000, while another pledged $25,000 for donor participation. Wake Forest surpassed both of these goals by mid-day, and another $25,000 gift was given once the total participation levels reached 1,000 donors.

“We wanted to do something fun, fresh and meaningful to connect with our alumni this time of year,” said Mark Petersen, Vice President for University Advancement. “I am overwhelmed by how the creative energy of our team motivated the generous spirit of so many Wake Foresters in just one day. Thanks to everyone who shared the video, retweeted a message or shared a Facebook status to spread the word to their friends.”

Wake Forest’s fiscal year ends June 30, 2013. More information about the Wake Forest Fund is available at


About Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University’s graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich our intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at


Categories: Media Advisory