Caitlin MacGregor, acting manager of the Academic Advising Centre, has shifted from library user to library supporter. She’s one of the reasons that the Collaborate campaign, Carleton’s most ambitious fundraising effort to date, has already reached the huge milestone of $200 million of its $300 million goal.
A few years ago, MacGregor took a year off to pursue her master’s degree in history, writing a thesis on film director Elia Kazan and the Hollywood blacklist. As a student, she became a big user of the MacOdrum Library. “At one point, I thought I was going to break the inter-library loans request system with the amount of stuff that came in,” recalls MacGregor.
Browsing through Carleton’s new crowdfunding FutureFunder platform brought MacGregor’s gratitude for that library time flooding back. She knew it was the project for her. She was also attracted to the automated withdrawal feature. “You don’t even notice it, honestly, come off your pay,” says MacGregor. “It’s just a bit every paycheck, and then at the end of the year, there’s a nice tax receipt that you get automatically with your T4.”
Ryan Davies, director of Advancement Communications, says that employees are particularly positioned to see the benefits of donation. “They know what philanthropy can do. They see first-hand that an investment from a donor can give an opportunity to a student. They know about financial need. They know about what we call “the margin of excellence,” like a donor investment can take a really good program and make it an outstanding one,” he says.
MacGregor confirms that being around students only solidifies her motivation to donate. “I get to work with students every day, and see their challenges and their triumphs. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing kids go from struggling, not knowing what they want to do, to finding their passion and really flourishing. I think we as staff, and as a community, we have a whole lot to contribute to that,” says MacGregor. She’s also proud to set an example as a donor. “I just think it sends such a positive message to our students, and to our bigger external donors, that we’re all on board and working together to make Carleton even better.”
Davies adds that an ambitious fundraising effort calls for an expanded definition of community, reaching out to everyone from alumni to employees to retirees to philanthropist and more. Given the central positioning of the university, it’s an easy argument to show the university’s impact. “Investments we can make here on campus in our research initiatives, in our academic programs, in the type of teaching we do, investments and enhancements in those programs ultimately have a benefit for the community,” says Davies.
Davies says that providing innovative ways to give has also benefitted the campaign: while other educational institutions have also moved towards the crowdfunding model, Carleton’s Future Funder was one of the first, and the ability to really tailor a donation is proving popular.
For MacGregor, seeing renovations she’s helped fund at the library motivates her to keep donating. “The library’s undergone such awesome renovations, even since the timeframe when I was studying here about five years ago. The resources and what was in the library was always fantastic, but now the exterior and aura of it has changed so much. It’s really quite dramatic and beautiful,” says MacGregor.
Carleton’s Collaborate campaign continues until the end of 2018. Keep an eye out for the newly created “Fund for Good” which helps support experiential learning, and the one-day Giving Tuesday campaign held on November 29th with a one-day goal to raise $150, 000.