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ASU Foundation earns 'Grand Gold' in international communications program

Mark It Day map
June 11, 2014

The Arizona State University Foundation for A New American University has been recognized as a “Grand Gold” winner in the 2014 CASE Circle of Excellence international awards program for innovative use of technology during its annual Mark It Day fundraising effort.

The annual competition is the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s (CASE) premier awards program, acknowledging superior accomplishments that have lasting impact, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism and deliver exceptional results. This year, 629 higher education institutions, independent schools and nonprofits from around the world submitted more than 3,000 entries in 100 categories for consideration in the Circle of Excellence awards program. Judges gave 283 bronze, silver and gold awards. Thirteen institutions received the top prize of a Grand Gold award.

Primarily a Web and social media-driven campaign, the centerpiece of Mark It Day was a live interactive donor map found on a specially developed site, The foundation’s Internet marketing team, led by senior director Stacy Holmstedt, connected a large-scale, software-as-a-service donation system to a real-time interactive donor thank-you map. The map populated markers by ZIP code, noting from where Mark It Day gifts originated. A cartoon version of Markie, the campaign symbol, became the map marker that populated the Mark It Day map. For each gift submitted, a personalized marker appeared on the map at the donor’s location, thanking him or her by name. By the end of the campaign, more than 1,000 donors had seen themselves thanked by name as their markers appeared on the interactive map, documenting for site visitors the extent of the group of alumni and friends dubbed “Sun Devil Nation.”

“This recognition is extremely rewarding,” said foundation CEO R.F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr. “A core value of the foundation team is our focus on innovation – those unique ideas, approaches and tools that not only advance ASU in a ground-breaking way, but also complement and recognize the tremendous and generous contributions of our nearly 100,000 donors each year. The Mark It Day campaign may be an effort that encompasses giving and support to ASU over a short period, but its impact is everlasting.”

Directed by ASU’s Office of Annual Giving, Mark It Day debuted in 2013 as a 73-hour effort to generate $73,373 in giving – a reflection of the university’s total enrollment that year. The mini-campaign raised more than $170,000 in support of ASU students, faculty and programs. The 2014 event generated nearly $3 million in contributions from across the U.S. and around the world.

In addition to the foundation’s first-ever Grand Gold recognition, ASU Sun Devil Athletics received a silver award in the fundraising/short videos category for a holiday greeting, and ASU public affairs earned bronze honors for a holiday greeting in the general/short videos category.


Steve Des Georges,
Senior Director, Editorial Services
ASU Foundation for A New American University