The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    SSU digitally kicks off inaugural ‘Giving Day’


    Sonoma State University’s inaugural Giving Day, a 24-hour virtual fundraising event for anyone interested in making donations, was held on April 29. The donations go towards campus campaigns and programs to support the school’s community, diversity and student success. 

    Although SSU has participated in other giving day events and originally planned to initiate Giving Day last year, the university was inspired to push the event to this year.

    Senior Director of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving, Tiffany O’Neil, explained the hard work behind Giving Day and its inclusiveness of everyone involved in the school community helped to push the fundraiser forward on a digital level. 

    “The website was one thing we spent a lot of time on designing and wanted to make sure that it is simple, user friendly and had the mobile capabilities for people to access it and find the cause that they are passionate about,” O’Neil said. 

    Donors are able to decide which campus organization, cause, program or department their donations will go to and the highlighted organizations listed on the event’s web page ( consists of Lobo’s Food Pantry, student scholarships, academic departments, university programs, student led organizations and many more causes. 

    There were a wide array of campaigns and programs listed on the Giving Day’s website, but the other programs who were not listed could be navigated through SSU’s designated web page (

    In addition to participating in the event by donating, other ways of contributing included marketing branded content and sharing stories throughout social media to promote the event using the hashtag, “#AllForSonomaState” and the social media toolkit from Giving Day’s web page. 

    The social media toolkit consisted of elements such as a profile image frame, themed images and designs for various social media platforms and pre-made sample posts to post before and during the fundraiser.

    “We wanted to be sure that we provided assets that could be shared on social media for each group to push out the information however they wanted. Students, teachers, faculty and staff are super busy and we wanted to make it as easy as possible to streamline the same look so that the event could have an impact,” O’Neil added.

    With the entirety of the event being virtually immersive, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter were utilized to engage everyone as much as possible.

    On Instagram, 100+ posts allocate in the search results using the hashtag “#AllForSonomaState” and show posts from student organizations, clubs, academic departments, and alumni.

    SSU’s Instagram, (@sonomastateuniversity), consistently posted leading up to the event which included testimonials and stories from individuals within the Seawolf community.

    In a video posted on SSU’s official Instagram, Gerald Jones, a SSU Alumni stated that not many students are able to complete their undergraduate degree due to lack of financial resources.

    “I want students from underrepresented backgrounds to have the same opportunities that I had when I earned my college diploma,” Jones stated.

    On the other hand, Facebook had an abundant amount of posts flowing through the platform’s news feed when viewing posts with the hashtag. 

    The Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement (MESA) program at SSU and the school library posted on their Facebook pages including their own designs incorporating Giving Day’s pre-made photos. 

    The school’s library Facebook page posted, “On Thursday, April 29, the SSU Library is participating in Sonoma State University’s first-ever one-day online fundraising event, with a goal of raising $2,500, which will go directly to support the student-centered services, collections, and activities provided by the SSU Library.”

    MESA’s Facebook post stated, “We’ll be using the funds to directly impact students’ experiences with mentoring, research and honors!”

    Giving Day’s success was able to reach a growing number of 300+ donors and is still in the process of counting.

    In a Zoom interview, O’Neil said,“It was exciting to see it happen and to see causes on campus rally. It was all about unifying us because we have been apart for the past 14 months. I am really proud to see that this brought us together as a campus community and we are only going to make it grow year-over year.”

    The university plans to host Giving Day as an annual event moving forward because of the positivity and has brought more attention to the Seawolf community by  supporting on-campus programs, opportunities and campaigns. 

    “It wasn’t just about programs and academics. It was really about supporting our students and having a really inclusive campaign that we were able to do,” O’Neil said. 

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