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Mayfield Senior School: How Tailoring #GivingTuesday Led to 6x the Growth

Holman Gao | 5 min read

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach with #GivingTuesday and Mayfield Senior School made an alteration that really paid off. Learn how they tailored their #GivingTuesday strategy and experienced 6.5x the donations over last year.

Highlights from Mayfield’s #GivingTuesday


Raised with BoostMySchool


Increase in donations from past year’s #GivingTuesday


Mobile donors via Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Venmo

About Mayfield Senior School

Image: Mayfield campusMayfield campus

Mayfield Senior School is an all-girls Catholic, independent, college preparatory school in Pasadena, CA. Established in 1931 for young women in grades 9-12, Mayfield provides rigorous academics guided by all that is unique to a Catholic, Holy Child education - love of learning, a lifelong commitment to service, a strong sense of self, a joyful spirit, and true respect for the inherent worth of every human being.

A Break from Tradition – Adding Parents and Grandparents

We were given the opportunity of a $50,000 matching gift that day and thought, what better way to reach this goal than to have our entire community involved and motivated to meet the challenge! The outcome far exceeded what we thought possible on #GivingTuesday!

Nicole Cosand, Director of Annual Giving and Alumnae Relations

Traditionally, #Giving Tuesday at Mayfield meant focusing energy on engaging their alumnae exclusively. While this focus led to more than half a decade with great success, the development team felt compelled to closely examine how this appeal should continue to exist within their annual strategic plan.

What they learned from analyzing their past successes with #Giving Tuesday was that these campaigns presented tremendous opportunity in two ways:

Honoring the School’s philosophy statement of being “respectful of tradition and always open to the new” as the guide, the development team decided to address prioritizing participation and focus not only on alumnae, but also on current and past parents and grandparents donors for the first time – and it paid off!

A #GivingTuesday as Unique as The Community

In the past, Mayfield learned that giving day success can be tied to one common denominator: that of community building. Hoping to not only increase the dollar amount raised in 24 hours, they were seeking to grow their foundational community and people who would be engaged in the future. With the help of a $50k matching gift challenge, they were ready to tackle the $50k goal - the biggest #GivingTuesday fundraising campaign in the school’s history!

Rallying Support: Nostalgia, Pride, and Pennants

It was a spirited theme that was truly brought to life when we asked many of our alumnae, who have young children, to show their #MayfieldSpirit by holding the pennants in our video montage. One alum’s very darling daughter held our new felt pennant that we used for our 2nd challenge of the day. It was a huge hit!

Nicole Cosand, Director of Annual Giving and Alumnae Relations

Whether they were engaging an alumna, current or past parent, grandparent or friend, Mayfield used two hashtags, #MayfieldSpirit and #24HoursofActionsNotWords! to rally support on social media and through their online giving campaign page. Every donor was encouraged and inspired through real-time engagement messages shared on their giving page.

Mayfield’s motto is Actions Not Words, so the use of #24HoursofActionsNotWords! had been their traditional Giving Days hashtag in the past. This year, the addition of #MayfieldSpirit spoke to their current annual giving theme. In fact, their annual giving brochure sported a pennant that perforated out of the piece enabling community members to display it – which turned out to be a favorite among their current students, too!

Video of past, present, and future Cubs with the Mayfield pennant (Maura Grace Photography)

Mayfield also provided personal updates that touched each of the constituency they were seeking to engage. The team posted videos filled with Mayfield pride designed to evoke fond memories for alumnae, past parents, and grandparents.

To further evoke nostalgia for all of the constituency groups targeted, Mayfield offered a thank you gift of a newly designed pennant for supporters at the $250 giving level and above. By 1pm, they had reached their original matching gift goal of $50k and further rallied their base by announcing a second matching gift challenge of $10k later in the afternoon. With this extra challenge made specifically in support of a special fund created in honor of a beloved member of the Mayfield community, Sr. Barbara Mullen, they provided a final update touting the association of this challenge to the meaning of their #24HoursofActionsNotWords!

Image: #GivingTuesday graphic with Mayfield pennant#GivingTuesday graphic with Mayfield pennant

Reflection: How Small Changes Created Big Results

There were several reasons for our success this year, but one in particular was the matching gift. Everyone loves to have their gift matched and having their gift, no matter the size, doubled, made our entire community truly grasp the value of their gift.

Nicole Cosand, Director of Annual Giving and Alumnae Relations

A 6.5x increase over the previous year’s #GivingTuesday donations is incredible by any standards. The Mayfield development team attributes the unprecedented success this year to bringing current and past parents and grandparents into the giving day’s outreach efforts.

Additionally, having a giving platform that offered payment methods as varied as their constituency added incredible value to the donor experience. Almost half of Mayfield’s donors gave on a mobile device, with 30% of the mobile gifts coming via Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Venmo. For donors who preferred to give by check, Mayfield allowed them to make a pledge through the giving page and still have the gift count towards the matching challenge.

With the ability to provide real-time updates, meaningful videos targeted to all constituency groups and a challenge boost from two very generous donors, Mayfield was able to customize engagement directly to the varied audiences – essentially appeal directly to their supporters’ minds and hearts. For the development team, this overall engagement beyond #GivingTuesday transactions was the biggest and truest measure of their day of success.

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Written By

Holman Gao

Holman is the founder and CEO of BoostMySchool. He actively helps his former high school with their fundraising and alumni outreach, which is how the idea for BoostMySchool came about. He is a strong believer in the power of education to change the world and volunteers with programs that support underrepresented students in math and science.