By Zane Moses

For The Diamondback

The University of Maryland received almost $400,000 in donations this year during its first annual Giving Day, an all day, online fundraising effort this past Thursday.

Giving Day raises money and gifts that can go toward scholarships and bettering schools and programs at the university, said Brian Logue, the senior director of annual giving. This year, the university raised 2,881 gifts totaling $379,628.

"What we are trying to do is raise money and get donors by concentrating our efforts on that one day, 27 hours," Logue said.

From midnight Thursday to 3 a.m. Friday, the donating commenced for the full day, allowing for West Coast donations with an extra three hours.

The public policy school raised the largest amount of money, totaling $49,827. The behavioral and social sciences college received the most gifts that day with 261, 13 percent of the total gifts collected, adding up to $20,635.

Generating the greatest number of gifts was due to a large, devoted group of alumni and an organized social media campaign, said Deborah Rhebergen, the behavioral and social sciences college's assistant dean.

"Our alumni responded to the call to action and I think they liked the competitive spirit of the day and helped spread the word about the day broadly," she said.

The gifts the department received went toward one of six funds within it — depending on the donor's choice — which supported scholarships, study abroad opportunities, technology and faculty hires, Rhebergen said.

"We are very proud to have received the most gifts, and we look forward to sharing with our donors the impact that their gifts of all sizes will have," she said.

The Men's Crew Fund and the Triathlon Club Fund received the most donations among student organizations with 117 donations each. The Alpha Epsilon Phi Scholarship Fund received the most donations among Greek organizations with 31.

Jim Rychner, the director of development and external relations for the Division of Student Affairs, said he expects the number of student-run organizations donations made to increase with time.

"What you see happen year by year with these kinds of things is it snowballs, so if people gave last year you reach out to them again and you keep it growing," Rychner said.

Giving Day used to be called Scholarship Day, which for the previous two years raised money for only scholarships, Logue said. The day has since expanded to fund more, and donors now have the option of choosing which programs to fund through specifically concentrated gifts or monetary donations, he said.

While there were no strict goals set for this year's fundraising, the day was a success, Logue said, especially comparing it to previous Scholarship Days. The university raised $324,212 and collected 2,035 gifts during last school year's Scholarship Day, he said.

The university worked toward fundraising with social media awareness campaigns and incentives for those who donated as well as for organizations and departments that received the gifts. The school also set aside $70,000 in matching funds as an incentive for organizations to yield gifts and donations.

"They get a sense that the money they earn is going a little bit farther because of the additional money that they, in turn, can earn back," Logue said.

Giving Day is set up to create a culture of philanthropy at the university, Logue said. He said he does not know how big Giving Day can become, but he wants it to be a day that students, alumni and faculty members can expect and look forward to.

"We are basically trying to unlock a world of possibilities for our students and faculty," Logue said. "If you talk about students, it's probably a lot of people around you that you interact with every day are there because of scholarships."