With $144k, GU Relay For Life may be on track to double last year’s donations
With about a month to go before Georgetown University’s Relay For Life and over $143,6000 raised already for this year’s Relay, the annual event will probably beat last year’s take of about $402,000 when all donations are tallied at the end of the fiscal year in August.
This year’s Relay fundraising team has also pulled in more individual donations than last year and expanded its outreach to other Georgetown campuses and the surrounding neighborhood.
“We have more people doing less,” Rachael Kenney (MSB ’11), an event chair for Relay, said. “The number of donations we’re seeing is way up, but they end up being smaller, which is a national trend. This happened at a lot of other Relays last year, which most people thought was due to the economy, but it did not happen to us until this year.”
The increased outreach that Relay’s board has been doing this year to the Medical School, Law Center, and surrounding Georgetown neighborhood has helped make up for the shrinking donations, Kenney said, with many donations in particular coming from the Medical Center, where many of last year’s board members are now studying. However, it’s not clear whether Relay can surpass its fundraising goal of doubling last year’s donations.
Earlier this week, when Kenney told Vox that Relay’s goal was to double last year’s goal, she added, “at this point, I hate to tell you, I don’t think that will happen.” In a follow-up e-mail today, however, she wrote, “I take back what I said about not being able to meet our goal—the momentum that has build this week is proving that this campus can do whatever they set their minds to.”
Georgetown is also currently ranked as the fourth largest Relay For Life college or university event in the country, behind only Virginia Tech, Washington University, and Boston College, according to Relay’s website. Kenney said that those numbers, which are infrequently updated, are inaccurate, and said that Virginia Tech has raised $248,000 and the University of Georgia has passed us with $149,000.
“The other events that are above us (Boston, Washington) have already happened—and obviously most of the fundraising happens in the last week,” she wrote in an e-mail about the rankings. So, Georgetown may raise more than they have.
Members of Relay think that since Relay is not as ‘new’ to campus as it once was, students are slower to sign up, but not less enthusiastic. The American Cancer Society website RelayGU.org currently counts 2,072 Relay participants signed up so far, but about 4,000 students will probably participate. Donations recently leaped on Sunday night when students rushed to register in time to be guaranteed an event t-shirt, and Kenney said Relay expects similar leaps in the coming week, with a number of Relay events hitting campus.
Georgetown University’s Relay was the largest collegiate Relay in the country in 2008, the largest ‘rookie event’ in 2007, and second in the country among colleges and universities in 2009. Even with the increased outreach to other parts of Georgetown, Kenney said that Relay fundraisers intend to keep the event undergraduate focused.
“Our focus is definitely still on the campus community,” she said. “Two-thirds of campus sign up each year, and it’s not like we’re tapped out yet.”
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