A hand-written thank you

In a digital world, there is just something about getting a handwritten note in the mail—it’s meaningful, impactful and personal.

The personal touch of a handwritten note is exactly why in February the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh held its first-ever Thank a Donor Day. The event held at Reeve Memorial Union gave faculty, staff, students and alumni an opportunity to recognize UW Oshkosh Fund supporters through a handwritten note.

“The event was a way for us to spread the word of philanthropy—so people are aware there are donors who help our students,” said Annual Giving Director Matt Kelliher. “It’s important for the campus community to understand there are many people who are donating—people who are helping students pay for their education and employment opportunities.”

During the Thank a Donor Day event, more than 1,700 postcards were handwritten—a reflection of the number of people who are supporting students through the annual fund at UW Oshkosh. The UW Oshkosh Fund helps students succeed by providing much-needed funds for scholarships.

Aubree Reidinger, of Suamico, a junior studying finance and a student alumni ambassador, helped rally Reeve visitors to sit and write a postcard or two during the event.

“The postcards really help personalize the thank-you coming from UW Oshkosh,” Reidinger said.

Reidinger has received scholarships that have helped her pay her tuition and take out fewer student loans. She knows the less she borrows as she makes her way through her studies at UW Oshkosh, the better.

Sydney Elsner, of Medford, a freshman kinesiology major, was among those Reidinger called to the table to write a personal thank-you message during the event.

“I was walking through Reeve and they asked me if I’d like to help thank a supporter of UW Oshkosh,” Elsner said. “I figured I might as well sit and write a note of support as a thank-you for supporting my fellow UW Oshkosh students.”

Kelliher is still quite new in his role at UW Oshkosh, but he brings with him a strong sense of pride for connecting with donors. Kelliher joined the UW Oshkosh Alumni Relations Office last November and oversees annual giving, including the phonathon program.

“It’s very important to have someone reaching out to UW Oshkosh supporters—to keep people engaged and in the know,” he said. “Every single dollar donated to UW Oshkosh counts and really helps our students.”

Check out more photos from Thank a Donor Day.

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