Captain’s Challenge brings record number of donors

The 10th annual Captain’s Challenge at UT Martin has come and gone, and university officials are calling it a great success.

The Challenge took place April 3 from midnight to midnight, and a main focus of the annual gifting drive this year was increasing the number of people making gifts to the university.

This year, there were 1,441 donors from 40 states in the Captain’s Challenge, 20.1% above the goal of 1,200 donors and the greatest number of donors ever in a single Captain’s Challenge.

Those donors gifted $428,527 to UT Martin.

Matt Borden, the associate director of annual giving, said that funding total ranks third among single-year donations made in the 10-year history of the Captain’s Challenge, and added that the number of donors is equally impressive.

“Especially coming off an extremely successful RISE Campaign last year, the increased donor count is critical to long-term UTM fundraising success,” he said. “More donors engaged with UTM helps immensely with areas such as programming and event planning.

“Focusing on donors rather than dollars this year was strategic. We looked to grow our overall annual giving base, and that was achieved with 200-plus new donors.”

The RISE fundraising campaign was announced at the Skyhawks’ football game against Samford on Sept. 11, 2021, and set its goal at $175 million. The campaign – the fourth fundraising campaign in the university’s history – surpassed that goal in June 2023.

The Office of Intercollegiate Athletics and the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences brought in the most donations, but several other colleges and areas were big winners as well.

Those areas that reached more than 100% of their donor goals were the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences (158%), the College of Humanities and Fine Arts (108%), the Paul Meek Library (108%), the College of Business and Global Affairs (104%) and the Black Alumni Council (104%).

The College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences had top numbers with $110,930 in gifted donations and had 278 donors, second only to the Office of Intercollegiate Athletics’ 357 donors who gifted $103,065 to that office.

“We had tremendous support across a multitude of campus units,” Borden said. “Seeing these 100% achievements in donors is fantastic!”

Matching funds and donation challenges helped to keep the day energetic and fun to follow.

“This was a tremendous Captain’s Challenge,” Borden said. “We exceeded our donor goal and saw quality engagement across all social media platforms.

“The donor growth cannot be understated, as it positively impacts future fundraising efforts as well as event planning and engagement possibilities.”

To make a donation to the university, department or program, visit Prospective donors can select from several areas of support at that site.

For more information about giving to UT Martin, call the UT Martin Alumni Association’s Martin Office at 731-881-3611.

PHOTO: Shown at a soil judging practice session in September 2023 are (L-R) UTM senior Kendal Patrick, a soil and water conservation major; Dr. Bethany Wolters, associate professor of plant and soil sciences in the Department of Agriculture, Geosciences and Natural Resources; and UTM freshman Jordynn Mattison, a plant and soil science major. The Department of Agriculture, Geosciences and Natural Resources was the received the highest gift funding in this year’s Captain’s Challenge, receiving $110,931 from 278 donors.

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