The Power of One
Can one small gift really make a difference? You bet.
BY WILL MITCHELL '84, DIRECTOR OF ADVANCEMENT
Can you think of a time when more than 1,000 members of the Pomfret community came together to celebrate the School’s mission, vision, and values? Can you recall a gathering, in person or virtually, when more than 1,000 students, faculty, staff, board members, alumni, parents, former parents, and friends collectively and individually affirmed their belief in Pomfret’s educational philosophy and practice?
A successful Reunion typically brings in about 250 alumni. An average Family Weekend, including students, will draw about 700 people. And a good-sized Commencement will attract anywhere between 800 and 900 community members.
But last year — on Tuesday, May 19 — 1,332 Pomfret supporters stood up for Pomfret during the School’s 2020 Day of Giving fundraiser. It was a historic moment in the life of the School, representing an incredible outpouring of generosity and care for Pomfret’s people and mission, as Covid-19 steadily marched across the globe.
To make this day a success, over seventy-five alumni and parent volunteers took a lead role in reaching out to their fellow classmates and community members to encourage engagement and participation. For twenty-four hours, Pomfret community members made themselves heard, raising $577,652 in one day. This represented 23 percent of the Pomfret Fund dollar goal for the year. The 1,332 gifts received on May 19 represented 67 percent of the year’s Pomfret Fund donors. More than 800 of the 1,332 gifts received during the 2020 Day of Giving were $100 or less.
I am often asked if gifts of $100 or less matter. You bet they do! A gift in any amount sends a message to our students and faculty that says you are invested in their success. High participation is driven by gifts of $100 or less, and high participation creates a broad and diverse base of support and a future pipeline of giving. High participation also inspires our biggest donors to stretch their giving, knowing the community is more broadly engaged in supporting the financial health and philanthropic aspirations of the School.
Gifts of $100 or less also matter because of their collective and cumulative impact. In Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020), Pomfret Fund gifts of $100 or less totaled $53,155.81. To provide the same impact, the School would have needed an additional endowment fund of $1,400,000.
I hope you will mark your calendars for Pomfret’s 2021 Day of Giving on Tuesday, April 27, and be part of what I hope will be another historic celebration in support of our school community.