What kind of impact does a Westmont education make in the lives of its graduates — and what kind of impact do these graduates make in the world?
A new website, Westmont Impact, will answer this question. Using social media, traditional multimedia and an innovative online giving platform, the college is creating a movement that engages supporters and shares stories about the positive impact the Westmont community makes. The goal is to inspire donors — especially recent graduates — during a crucial juncture in the college’s history.
In the midst of a campaign to raise $102 million for essential new facilities, Westmont is testing an innovative strategy. Few, if any, colleges and universities have successfully mobilized young alumni through online giving.
“No one has figured this out,” says Reed Sheard, vice president for advancement and chief information officer. “We aim to be the first. There are a few non-profit organizations that have utilized social media and online giving well. And even though our young alumni may not have large amounts of disposable income, I think most of them feel passionately enough to give to Westmont at this critical time.”
The mission of Westmont Impact is to catalyze investment in the college’s ministry. “This is more than just a new giving campaign,” says Ryan Zoradi ’08, social media associate. “We see Westmont Impact as an organic movement that has a youthful energy, is constantly adapting to the latest technology and will be around long after construction is complete.”
Rob Wagner ’98, regional director of social networks, says alumni may not consider Westmont in the same vein as other ministries when they decide which organizations to support. “Every dollar committed to Westmont is an investment tied to a tangible return: more than 300 graduates who leave Westmont each year and go out to make an impact in the world for Christ. In this economy, what other investment opportunities will multiply a dollar 300-fold?
“Many alumni and friends of Westmont have had an incredible experience at the college, but they don’t always view it as a ministry worthy of financial support. We believe the way Westmont equips future leaders — intellectually, socially and spiritually — makes it one of the most effective ministries for God’s Kingdom in existence today.”
Westmont Impact (westmontimpact.org) includes videos and a blog featuring students, faculty and alumni describing their service and leadership in various endeavors. Some of the students traveling with Mayterm classes shot video of their activities. Segments of these recordings, which will appear on the site, are powerful and deeply moving.
“We will constantly update the blog with interviews and stories about Westmont at work in the world,” Zoradi says. “We hope to show supporters of the Westmont Impact movement how their investment empowers the college to make a difference in the world for Christ.”
Participants in the Westmont Impact movement can invest unrestricted funds, allowing the college to use donations for the most pressing needs. Supporters may also direct their investment toward student scholarships, faculty needs or the Bright Hope for Tomorrow campaign.
“We hope to help people make connections with Westmont and with each other in the most meaningful ways,” Sheard says.