For more than seven years, “Giving DEISday” has been an annual giving tradition celebrated by students, staff, and alumni all over the globe.  It’s viewed as a “celebration of all that makes Brandeis unique” as described by the Give Campus website. 

This year, Brandeis raised nearly $900,000 from 2,200 donors, according to Lindsay Roth, Director of Direct Marketing and Participation in the Institutional Advancement Office. Over $300,000 bonus funds were also raised based on “the overall participation challenge and the unique challenges created for certain areas of campus,” she said in an Oct. 24 email to the Justice. Sharing stories specific to Waltham Group, the impact of sports, and the Gender and Sexuality Center on social media “was another way to stress the immense impact our donors can (and do!) have on the student experience,” Roth explained.

Previously celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and often called “Giving Tuesday,” this year the organization changed the annual giving ceremony to Oct. 6 in an effort to create a unique Brandeis holiday, according to their website. Roth mentioned that as “Giving Tuesday” became a bigger event, it had become more difficult to reach other audiences through the noise from other non-profit organizations. She also recognized that the change allowed for “the event to align with Homecoming Weekend under a new moniker that celebrates our community and allows our messages to be seen and heard across all channels.” 

Similarly to previous years, donors had the opportunity to choose where their money went to, such as The Brandeis Fund — which focuses on designating funds to greatest need — general scholarships, sports, academic departments, and even organizations and clubs on campus. The new giving platform, Give Campus, allowed for alternate payment methods to be accepted, and “40% of our donors came in through mobile wallets,” Roth said. These new changes, such as incorporating Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and Venmo, allowed for “instant, secure philanthropy to happen in the same way checkout happens in a retail transaction,” she explained. This change not only influenced the contribution of current students’ donations, but is also a platform that can be used to raise funds for student-centric causes in the future.

Stephanie Grimes, Associate Director of Alumni Relations, worked closely with expanding “Giving DEISday’s” impact to current students and told the Justice in an Oct. 20 that this year the University organized fundraising livestreams for the first time. Grimes mentioned that the team likes to collaborate with students in order to reach a broader range of donors. In this case, Grimes worked alongside Donna DeChambeau ’24, and the two hosted students, staff, and alumni to chat about their Brandeis experiences, which “gave the audience a real time on the ground look at what is happening on campus.” In addition to the livestreams, other events were incorporated, such as the “Ollie on the Street” segment, modeled after Youtube’s “Billy on the Street,” where Brandeis students were asked trivia questions about the University and asked to compete to earn donor contributions for their area of their choice. “The combination of these with the live tabling in the Blue Booths and inside the Shapiro Campus Center complete with prizes and [a] photo booth brought excitement to a normal Thursday,” Grimes said. Additionally, she outlined that both the Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations Offices’ work “are continuing to build the momentum and excitement for ‘Giving DEISday’ and to educate students on the importance of giving in support of their passions.”  This year, over 100 students contributed to the campaign. Additionally, the live show allowed Brandeis to give away $4,800 in bonus funds offered by Alumni Association President Lewis Brooks ’80, P’16 and his wife Denise Brooks ’84, P’16.

Patrick McAvoy, Assistant Director of Direct Marketing and Participation, mentioned in an Oct. 24 email to the Justice that “Phonathon participation is also extremely important to the success of the event overall.” The initiative, which is composed of undergraduate and graduate student callers and overseen by McAvoy, reaches out to alumni, parents, and friends each year to build relationships and secure financial support for Brandeis. This year, after 12 hours of calling, “students raised an impressive amount of money for the school while helping the University reach [their] goals,” McAvoy said, contributing to “Giving DEISday” with just under $38,000 raised via phone calls. In an Oct. 24 email to the Justice, Phonathon caller Vivi Infante ’25 also mentioned the initiative’s importance by highlighting the all year around fundraising efforts, and discussed how “whether it be the emergency fund, or a certain school like the International Business School or the Graduate School of the Arts, there’s an opportunity to assist every aspect of campus.”  This reflects the enormous opportunity of hearing interesting stories from alumni and connecting with fellow student workers while also making an impact on the Brandeis community. 

Although “Giving DEISday” is over for the year, the University continues to accept donations throughout the year.