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NAIT Sees Surprising Response To Charity Despite Pandemic

Bill dollar money Canadian fifty dollar bills sit on table

By Zachary Flynn

NAIT has raised over $150,000 for the COVID-19 Student Relief fund despite the financial hardships that have been seen in many households over the last nine months.

The Student Relief fund received $50,000 each from the NAIT fund and NAITSA, over $17,000 from crowdfunding efforts, and other larger donations from individuals and organizations.

“We were overwhelmed with the response. We were blown away,” said Erin Kuebler, the annual giving officer at NAIT.

“It’s definitely needed and especially as people’s other benefits run out, we’re starting to see more and more applicants for that bursary.”

Kuebler said that the generosity this year has exceeded her expectations considering the current economic circumstances.

“On the individual side of things, it is wonderful to see that even though it’s a tight time and a challenge, people are still interested in supporting it. I love that and I think it’ll bode well for the future of fundraising,” she said.

However, NAIT receives a vast majority of its gifts from larger organizations and wealthier donors, who have been wearier of how they spend their money.

“On the corporate side of things, it’ll take a while for organizations to recover and reinvest in some of tier community investments so I would think that would be a longer recovery period but that’s all just speculation at that point,” said Kuebler.

“The bigger money comes through our work with different organizations as well as individuals who might be alumni or friends of NAIT with a huge capacity where they can donate hundreds of thousands. That’s where we earn the bulk of our fundraising money.”

NAIT’s fundraising model is different from most non-profits. NAIT funds their giving team through operational funding and they use this to their advantage.

“All donations go where you designate them. If you give $50 to the COVID Relief Fund, that whole $50 will be in a student’s pocket,” said Kuebler.

And these donations have a profound impact on students, too.

“We are so appreciative of these donors. Hearing the stories of students who are impacted by these gifts and scholarships, it is amazing what so many of these students have had to go through and it is a privilege to help.”

NAIT recently sent a letter to all of its donors and alumni, asking for donations to the NAIT fund and other initiatives.

“We receive the most donations when we ask,” said Kuebler. “[Emails and letter are] incredibly important because it helps us build that base of support and provides substantial support through the year for students and gives us opportunities to partner with people or their company.”

The NAIT Fund raised over $18 million for the 2019-2020 academic year.

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