Taking a break from their hard work, assistant director of Donor Relations Emily Moore ’06 and administrative assistant Lisa Santilli ’11 pose with UNH Founding Benefactor Ben Thompson at the Nov. 14 “A Thousand Thanks” event. Attendees who stopped by the photo booth for a Ben Thompson photo op can view and order photos from the UNH Smug Mug site.
A thousand thanks, as it turned out, was an understatement. On Nov. 14, more than 200 UNH students, faculty, and staff helped celebrate the University’s first campus-wide celebration of philanthropy, “A Thousand Thanks,” in the MUB Granite State Room. An event conceived to share with donors how much their support is valued by the University and to educate students about the importance of annual giving, the celebration brought together a broad cross-section of campus to write thank you notes and place thank you-phone calls to some of the University’s most generous supporters.
“We were just delighted by the community response to A Thousand Thanks,” says Pam Smith, director of donor relations for University Advancement, which co-sponsored the event with the UNH Fund. All told, participants served up some 3,079 thank-yous: 978 handwritten notes, 1,824 phone calls, and 277 signatures on a banner that will hang in the Elliott Alumni Center. “It’s wonderful for us to be able to reach out to our donor family in this way, and it’s wonderful that our campus partners are so ready to share their gratitude.”
For some donors, the student- or staff-written note marked the first time they’ve received a personalized acknowledgement of their UNH gift. And for most of the student participants, it was the first time they were able to make the connection between the support provided by the University’s alumni, parents, and friends, and their own college experience. “It’s a real win-win,” says UNH Fund director Katie Oslin. “Not only did we get the opportunity to thank our donors, but we also had the chance to engage our students in the process.”
In addition to the central letter writing table, the afternoon event featured stations with games to teach students about The UNH Fund and The Wildcat Fund. There was also live music, free pizza and candy, and a variety of giveaways. And for attendees who wanted a souvenir of their afternoon, there was a photo corner where they could don hats, oversized glasses, and UNH-blue wigs for a picture with a life-sized cutout of Ben Thompson, the University’s founding benefactor.
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