Breaking Purdue's Day Of Giving record by raising $41.6m in 24 hours

The Goal
Surpass the previous year's record-setting Day Of Giving amount with digital support
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  • 01
    Purdue raised $41.6 million in a 24-hour period
  • 02
    Donors made 1,420 gifts from 60 countries
  • 03
    Generated gifts from all 50 states
The Client

Purdue University is a world-renowned, public research university offering more than 200 majors for undergraduates, over 69 masters and doctoral programs, and professional degrees.

The Challenge

The University has an incredible alumni network, growing with thousands of new graduates each year. Coming from a deeply connected collegiate community, alumni and donors were already engaging with the university at several points throughout the year. But raising funds for Purdue’s annual Day of Giving, which Statwax has had the privilege of partnering on for 3 years now, required campaign support that would make a big impact in only 24-hours. Meaning there was zero room for error in serving ads, and staying up to date with fundraising goals.

The Strategy

Campaign preparation began by pulling from our previous two years of data from providing digital support in Purdue’s record-setting $28.2 million (2017) and $37.6 million (2018) Day of Giving totals. This historical performance helped identify the ideal start date for campaigns, to ensure ads would effectively generate awareness and “save the date” buzz well ahead of the day.

Next, alumni and donor audiences were meticulously segmented. This is important for two reasons. First, by making it possible to allocate ad dollars more efficiently by breaking users out into graduation year and years since their last donation, and tying budget to the likelihood of donating. And second, by allowing us to create campaigns for Purdue’s hourly challenges. Throughout the Day of Giving, 30+ challenges take place to encourage friendly competition between colleges and programs at the university.

Since these challenges only ran for an hour and their creative elements reflected real-time fundraising progress, ad approval time was critical. A hurdle unique to short-run campaigns, we worked with our agency partners throughout the day for quick turnarounds across various ad platforms.

We continued with real-time optimizations and updates for the entire period, with our team rotating shifts for the entire 24-hour duration. By being in the war room with Purdue’s marketing teams, we were able to make immediate improvements to campaigns as goal benchmarks moved. The result was another record-breaking year, raising $41.6 million.

The Takeaway

1. Early audience engagement helps create momentum going into the Day Of Giving, especially when leveraging video ads.

2. Detailed list segmentation allows for more efficient targeting and budgeting, and works best with groups like; years since graduation, time since the last donation, and degree.

3. Real-time ad optimizations work best from the school’s Day of Giving action center, so ad creative stays on top of benchmarks and progress.


If you’re interested in a deeper look at the insights and takeaways we learned from Purdue’s record-setting Day Of Giving, get in touch with our data science team.