Record-breaking news: Purdue Day of Giving 2019 sets new world record

That’s $41.6 million from 21,420 total gifts in just 24 hours, for those of you scoring at home.

We’re admittedly a little spoiled here at SAGA Content, as we get to brag about helping break the world record for single-day higher-ed fundraising now for the eighth year in a row. But that’s not even what we’re most proud of — what we love most about this annual effort is how we’ve helped create a culture of giving back, of paying forward opportunity, at a school that admits they didn’t really have a strong tradition of that before.

But let’s get the headline-grabbing stuff out of the way before we get all sappy: We’re the king of the world! We broke (our own) records! Woo hoo!



Those record-breaking numbers are important, but the impact we’re most proud of has been motivating Purdue alumni, faculty, students, parents, and friends not only to give back, but to make this day an annual tradition to grant opportunity for future Boilermakers. An incredible 87% of the 24,420 gifts came from people who had already donated to Purdue, and 55% of donors were returning Day of Giving supporters who now look forward to this special event every year. The class with the highest participation rate was 2018, followed by 2017 and 2016, showing that not only is our social media-led Day of Giving strategy working to engage the youngest alumni, it’s crucially helping them develop a habit for giving.

But it’s not just the recent alumni — every single class from 1947 up to the incoming class of 2024 contributed.


Like big numbers? That’s what these are:

  • $41,596,596 raised

  • ...11% higher than the previous record ($37.6 million on 2018 Purdue Day of Giving)

  • ...adding up to a total of $146.9 million raised over 6 years of Purdue Days of Giving

  • 21,420 total donations

  • ...15% more than the previous record (18,663 gifts on 2018 Purdue Day of Giving)

  • Gifts from 60 countries and all 50 states

  • ...including 8 new countries

  • 46 million+ impressions across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat

  • ...a 15% increase in social impressions

  • 5th consecutive year Purdue has broken the world record for amount raised in a single-day campaign

  • Allowed Purdue to freeze tuition for the 8th year in a row

  • 40 hourly and full-day bonus fund challenges in social media

  • 72 participating schools, programs and campuses

  • 210 participating student organizations

  • ...all in only 24 hours!

Saga Content has been an instrumental partner for Purdue Day of Giving over the years. Their ability to identify opportunities for us to adjust and refocus during the 24-hour effort has proven to drive bigger results, year after year.
— Amy Noah, Vice President for Development, Purdue University




We kicked the campaign off a month before the day with a quick teaser video, starring campus basketball star Carsen Edwards and quick hits of historic Purdue icons, to grab audience attention and let them know something big was coming.

Launch Video

Two weeks out, we shifted the effort into high gear with a campaign video that pulled out all the Purdue celebrity stops to promote a Day of Giving that fell near the 150th anniversary of the school’s founding: NFL MVP Drew Brees, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, women’s national camp basketball star Ukari Figgs, astronaut Neil Armstrong, and more, asking the compelling question, “What is a Boilermaker?”

Screen Shot 2019-04-24 at 4.29.15 PM.png

The reach of the video was increased when Captain Sully himself shared our work on Twitter.



Along the way, we created dozens of pieces of original content, designed to appeal to potential donors through nostalgia and emotional hooks and convince them to help spread the word in social media.


Rather than insist on rigid adherence to branding, based on past years’ learnings, we encouraged each of the 72 participating schools and programs to modify our content to better fit their specific audience — even giving them the working files and training them on how to make Day of Giving their own.




On the day itself, content shifted to appeal to the audience’s love of friendly competition, with a series of 30 different hourly and full-day challenges designed to motivate further participation with the incentive of winning matching funds.

These challenges motivated thousands of interactions each hour as alumni and students tried to win bonus funds for their favorite school, program, or student group


This flurry of social activity also helped #PurdueDayofGiving trend on Twitter throughout the day, further adding to its social spread.



All of our content across video, print, signage, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat drove our audience to our Purdue Day of Giving website as a central hub. The site itself which consisted of three distinct phases: Phase 1 pushed the video and general information along with save-the-date functionality across platforms before the big Day arrived; Phase 2 shifted on the Day itself to emphasize the timeliness of acting now to donate and engage in the competition of hourly challenges to win bonus funds; and Phase 3 expressed the gratitude of and for the entire Purdue community for helping the University make the next Giant Leap.


As an added engagement for students, there was also a campus scavenger hunt through the Goosechase app with 150 different challenges (to commemorate Purdue’s sesquicentennial). The most prominent challenge in the Goosechase scavenger hunt was to have a 360-degree photo taken in a video booth set up in the entryway of the Memorial Union, where we also filmed footage to use in our day-end thank you video.




We also created T-shirts, print ads, bus ads, posters, postcards and a special edition of the campus newspaper, an email campaign, and stewardship communications in print, email and social media.



To celebrate the incredible results of the record-breaking effort — and sincerely thank everyone who gave back — we created a high-energy video of students and faculty showing off their best Fortnite-esque victory dance, introduced by Drew Brees himself, which was released the morning after.



Obviously, none of this record-breaking success could have occurred without the hard work of an incredibly dedicated group at Purdue and their strategy group State of Wow, as well as their student volunteers — we have never seen a school roll up their sleeves and get behind a Day of Giving like Purdue, and that shows in their results. As a result, they have seen long-term impact from their annual Day of Giving program that reaches beyond the financial benefit, drawing widespread support and social media word-of-mouth from a community of alumni, parents, students, faculty and friends that leads to deeper long-term engagement and connections.

Saga Content have made it a priority to understand our Purdue community and identify ways to maximize our efforts each year during our Purdue Day of Giving activities. Charles and Nils are great partners and are consistently going above and beyond to ensure our efforts are successful.
— Amy Noah, Vice President for Development, Purdue University