Update, November 5: This article has been updated to reflect new dates for the NIRSA Foundation’s 2019 #GivingTuesday campaign.

When I was a graduate assistant at Belmont University, I was fortunate enough to receive a NIRSA Foundation scholarship to the NIRSA Annual Conference, which was held in Charlotte, NC that year. As other scholarship recipients can attest, I served in a volunteer role at the NIRSA Foundation Table that year and met some truly remarkable people. It was also there, in Charlotte, where I made my first gift to the NIRSA Foundation. At the time, I felt like I was doing my part to “give back” to the organization that gave so much to me: a career path, a close network of family-like friends, and a central place to learn and grow both personally and professionally.

Fast forward ten years and many conferences, jobs, and donations later, and I find myself giving to NIRSA for a completely different reason: to pay it forward. Call it experience or perspective, but I’m in a season of life where I can understand why my gift matters to this great organization. It matters so the NIRSA Foundation can offer more opportunities to our entire NIRSA family by way of scholarships, student officials’ development, and research. My gift supports the efforts of the Institutional Data Set and the Salary Census and our research grants. My gift supports scholarships that help students (like me back in the day!) and professionals realize their purpose and their path. My gift matters, and I’m here to tell you that yours does too.

And it gets better. We now have several avenues that make it easy to give back or pay it forward, such as at the Annual Conference (oh hey there, name tag bling!) and also on #GivingTuesday (I love that this is a thing!). This year’s #GivingTuesday campaign kicks off December 2 and runs through December 4. We have an ambitious goal of $15,000, but I know we can do it! Hughes Group Architects, which has been a wonderful sponsor of our #GivingTuesday efforts, has increased their match to $3,000! Wow!

So this is where you come in. Could you put aside a few dollars each week from now until #GivingTuesday? Can you help us make this the best #GivingTuesday we have seen yet? Whether you frame it as giving back or paying it forward, I hope you realize the tremendous impact you’re making when you give to the NIRSA Foundation. As a member of the NIRSA Foundation Board, I speak for all of us when I say THANK YOU for your support and for your love of this NIRSA family. Join us on #GivingTuesday and be sure to tag us on social media when you do!

Fuel your network on #GivingTuesday

On #GivingTuesday, you can help the NIRSA Foundation meets its goals and $3,000 match from Hughes Group Architects by making a gift in support of the NIRSA family. Our goals are to:

  • Enroll ten new Cornerstone Society monthly donors
  • Raise $15,000 to ensure a thriving future for campus rec

Donors who make at least a $25 gift during the #GivingTuesday appeal, which lasts from December 2–3, will receive a special #GivingTuesday donor ribbon at the 2020 NIRSA Annual Conference and Campus Rec & Wellness Expo.

Give back or pay it forward to future generations of campus rec leaders by participating in our #GivingTuesday photo contest for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card! Details about the contest can be found at our #GivingTuesday webpage.

Be sure to keep an eye on our social media (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) to learn about the impact your gifts have on your NIRSA family and to hear from members who have benefitted from your generosity.


Associate Director - Health Lifestyle Programs at Georgia Institute of Technology | NIRSA Profile

Caroline Dotts is currently the Associate Director - Health Lifestyle Programs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is a member of the NIRSA Foundation Board of Directors.