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“In our 2020 year, Pitt Dance Marathon dove headfirst into the Alumni world by reaching out to our University’s established alumni groups, resources, and connections in an attempt to use that partnership to grow our base further. But, we ended up traveling in circles a bit trying to find a direction for what DM Alumni looked like- did we need a structured board? Did we want an alumni leader? Did we want mentor relationships? Did we need to host multiple events? Did we even have enough alumni for participation?

The Alumni Chair and overseeing Director felt lost, and then COVID-19 occurred. The virtual shift allowed a chance to return to the drawing board. We continued to reach out to the University partners but also to our actual Alumni. This was the game-changer moment. Learning directly from three of our alumni in monthly meetings allowed us to determine what was really feasible from the alumni’s perspective.

We had our first large push day in the Spring Semester of 2021, and for the first time, our alumni played a large role in a PDM event. The small but mighty team of three alumni grew to 12 alumni registered in our DD simply from the alumni engaging with their alumni friends. Then, during our push day, we set up a milestone ladder. This ladder allowed alumni to pledge a certain amount of their own donations (into their DD) if our Staff reached a certain total or milestone.

These pledges allowed our alumni total on our push day to round to about $850. We finally found a proven successful method to engage with our Alumni and ultimately reach a fundraising goal!

With the new uncertainties that this year has brought to us, we knew we had to figure out some strategies to keep our Alumni engaged, from wherever they were residing. We decided to use the fact that everyone was spread out around the United States to our advantage and created our “50 States” Initiative. We created a map of the United States and whenever we got a donation from a state, we removed the coloring on the map and when completed it revealed an image. This started as an alumni project but soon spread to the current members, which allowed new and old members to work towards a similar goal. Our Graphic Design was also able to help us out and make some Alumni themed graphics for them to post on their personal social media accounts.

With these efforts made throughout this year, the Alumni were able to raise the most amount of money ever raised by our Alumni team! We cannot wait to see how these new improvements will help to continue to increase our Alumni engagement and involvement!”