The Catamount Club launched an effort earlier this year to improve engagement between Western Carolina University’s intercollegiate athletics program and its fan base by using student workers to formalize and boost its social media and online presence.
The initiative was among several campus projects made possible by donors to the Fund for WCU. The Catamount Club received a total of $3,500 in funding from the inaugural year of the WCU Division of Advancement’s 1889 Impact Grants Program.
The grant enabled the Catamount Club to hire student employees who used a system called ScoreShots to create digital graphics to share on social media and elsewhere online throughout the year. The students produced online content to highlight Catamount Club Board of Directors members, provide details of upcoming events and donor engagement opportunities, and post quotes from donors about their reasons for supporting the athletics program’s philanthropic mission, said Julie Miller, associate athletics director for development.
“The 1889 Impact Grant assisted our efforts to include student workers in our operation,” Miller said. “Providing professional development opportunities to WCU students while enhancing the donor experience in Catamount Athletics was a win for everyone involved. Our students stepped up and stepped in to ensure that the impact of philanthropy resonated throughout our department, and I look forward to growing upon the work that was done.”
Launched in 2021, the 1889 Impact Grants program is designed to provide a consistent source of funding for colleges and other units at WCU in support of initiatives that enhance the engagement of alumni and community stakeholders with the philanthropic activities of the university.
Funding for the program comes from annual contributions to the Fund for WCU, including leadership gifts from members of the 1889 Club, which recognizes donors for gifts made on an annual basis to the Fund for WCU. The club, among four giving societies established by the Division of Advancement to celebrate the impact of philanthropy on the institution, is named in honor of the year of WCU’s founding.
Eleven projects were selected to receive a total of $40,000 in grant funding during the program’s inaugural year.