Bates leads the pack in March Mania competition

Spurred by the mantra “Beat Colby,” Bates’ young alumni have secured their first March Mania victory in the challenge’s four-year history.

March Mania web

Bates’ BOLD alumni increased their total number of March Mania gifts by 63 percent over last year.

With 1,448 donations to the Bates Fund, the college’s alumni of the 10 youngest classes not only  beat the competition, they earned a $25,000 bonus for the college, bringing their total March gift to $88,205.

March Mania is the annual giving challenge that pits young alumni from four NESCAC schools against one another to see which college can rack up the most gifts to their respective annual funds in one month. This year, Bates competed against Colby (last year’s champions), Connecticut College and Trinity.

To sweeten the deal, an anonymous Bates trustee promised a $25,000 bonus to the Bates Fund if the young alumni, dubbed “BOLD” (Bobcats Of the Last Decade), reached 1,200 gifts.

The Bobcats pounced to an early lead, holding steady through the April 1st giving deadline. Bates Fund volunteer Doug Ray ’10 kept the momentum going through a promotional video and social media campaign.

“It’s really good to see digital media being adopted” for annual giving “on such a wide scale,” says Ray. “If one person posts on Facebook, that post may reach a few hundred people they know, whereas a phone call or an email really only reaches one person.

“These new forms of communication can really change the game.”

After losing last year to Colby by 63 gifts, a dedicated group of BOLD alumni volunteers — 165 in all — reached out to friends and classmates, encouraging them to give any gift, any size to reach the participation goal.

In a turn of poetic justice, current Bates seniors rallied to defeat Colby in their own special Class of 2013 March Mania competition. For one week in March, the two colleges competed to see who could garner the most senior gifts.

Twenty-nine percent of Bates seniors made gifts compared with Colby’s six percent, bringing Bates’ total Senior Gift participation for the year to 83 percent.

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