The BowdoinOne Day campaign aimed to encourage alumni donations overwhelming exceeded goal. On Tuesday, 1,274 alumni donated gifts to the College, more than double the campaign’s goal of 423 donations. The 24-hour campaign  took place on April 23, the day on which funds for from tuition and the endowment symbolically “run out”. The operating budget for the rest of the academic year is financed by donations. 

According to Director of Annual Giving Brannon Fisher,  BowdoinOne Day—the first of its kind at Bowdoin—sought to “educate students and alumni about the real impact of their annual gifts to Bowdoin.”

“We use 6 percent of the academic year to illustrate or represent in a symbolic way how six percent of Bowdoin’s operations are funded by gifts,” said Fisher. “That was sort of a new and novel message for Bowdoin in our fundraising.”

The campaign’s website,, explains that Bowdoin does not actually run out of money on April 23. Alumni, parent and friend donations constitute 6 percent of the College’s annual operating budget, and April 23 marks the beginning of the last 6 percent of the academic year.

Fisher said that the Alumni Fund acts as a “third source of revenue” that the College receives on a year-round basis.

“What’s important about [the Alumni Fund] is that it’s flexible money and it’s current-use money, so it fills the gaps in the budget,” said Fisher. “The fact is that tuition and disbursements from the endowment don’t cover everything that Bowdoin does. 

In addition to raising awareness about the importance of alumni giving, the BowdoinOne Day campaign encouraged alumni to donate earlier in the year said Leo Dunn ’75, chair of the Alumni Fund.

Dunn said that Bowdoin generally receives the most gifts from alumni in December, when donations are made for tax reasons, and in June before the June 30 fiscal year deadline.

According to Fisher, BowdoinOne Day succeeded in encouraging alumni who typically give in June to make their gifts earlier, enabling the Alumni Office to focus its attention on reaching out to first time donors and lapsed donors during the remainder of the fiscal year.

In total, the Office of Annual Giving seeks to raise $8,350,000 and attain 60 percent alumni participation by the end of Fiscal Year 2013. The Office has raised approximately $6 million in alumni gifts and pledges so far, and the BowdoinOne Day campaign alone contributed approximately $300,000.
Fisher emphasized that BowdoinOne Day was a “participation-based initiative,” particularly for graduating Bowdoin seniors.

“I think it’s an initiative that hopefully will inform and educate not just the present alumni, but students, particularly seniors, about the importance of the Alumni Fund to the welfare of the College,” said Dunn.

Fisher said that he hoped the BowdoinOne Day campaign served as a “meaningful, philanthropic exercise” for graduating seniors.

“This exercise is critically important to the long-term future of Bowdoin and the long-term future of the Alumni Fund,” he said. “That first gift of 10 or 20 dollars that the alumni makes is as important as a five or six figure gift, because we know that sometimes it will lead to that [amount] decades down the road.”

Approximately 560 alumni volunteers spent the past several weeks helping the College raise awareness about the initiative. On Tuesday, the College held several Alumni Fund volunteer receptions around the country to conclude the campaign.

“We couldn’t really tell whether or not the volunteers were doing what we hoped they were. We had a good sense that they were paying attention and that there was going to be some good activity, but what happened [on Tuesday] surpassed our expectations,” said Fisher.

Correction, April 27 at 11 a.m.: The original article misstated that Leo Dunn '75  is director of the alumni fund. In fact, Dunn is chair of the fund. Additionally, the original article misrepresented the nature of the funds that symbolically "run out" on April 23. Both errors have been corrected.