I was in New York City on Monday at the CASE D1/D2 conference to present MiddSTART with colleagues Maggie Paine, the Director of Advancement Communications, and Molly Sullivan, the Assistant Director of Donor Relations. My role was to speak briefly about the technology behind MiddSTART and answer any technical questions that came up. You can view the slides from our presentation in this PDF.
MiddSTART went live in September 2010, but it wasn’t until March 2011 that we’d finalized the site, added student projects, and begun advertising it. Since then, MiddSTART has raised $58,955 from 380 donors in FY11 and an additional $26,183 from 214 donors in FY 2012. The average gift size as $155 in FY11 and $122 in FY12. Between the two fiscal years there have been 50 repeat donors.
On the technology side, MiddSTART is a WordPress blog, on the same server as this LIS blog, just with a custom theme. Each post on the blog is a different project and is linked to a different form that Advancement staff create in our Harris Connect Alumni Community. Each of those donations forms has a unique code, which can be seen in the nightly reports that we fetch from our credit card processor. Those donation amounts and the names of the donors are added to a custom database table in our WordPress site and used to calculate the donation totals for the MiddSTART projects.
Most of the questions at the conference had to do with concerns from other schools about this taking away from undirected giving, but we’ve seen that a large number of the donations (187 in FY11, 109 in FY12) were from people with no previous history of donating to Middlebury. Many also give to multiple projects and like the experience of communicating directly with the student(s) using their gift to carry out the project work.
Just last week we set up MiddGOAL, a copy of the MiddSTART site that is solely focused on Athletics fundraising. Right now people can fund the teams’ training trips through the site, which you’ll see has already brought in over $10,000 in a little less than a week.