Colgate University Pass the Torch Campaign

By Cowley Team

Cowley had the recent pleasure of teaming up with Colgate University’s Office of Annual Giving on a new fundraising campaign called, “Pass the Torch.” The Colgate torch is a living symbol that unifies the entire Colgate community. As a guide and a source of light and inspiration, it represents the best of learning and discovery too.

The concept of the fundraising campaign is to combine a donor honor roll with a little bit of competition. Each Colgate alum has their own virtual torch on a microsite. When a donation is made, your “unlit” torch becomes “lit”.  Those alumni who have given can go to the site and pass their torch via social media or send an email inspiring others to donate and “light” their torches. As the end of the campaign, the top 3 alumni who passed their torch and inspired the most donations from other alumni will receive a price. The top prize is a trip for four back to campus to have dinner with Colgate’s new president.

Cowley designed and built the microsite ( and torch graphics including a gif and email header for the campaign. The microsite is complete with a leaderboard and progress tracking so that visitors can see how many torches have been lit towards the 13,513 goal. We also built in a search functionality so that alumni could easily find themselves or their classmates and have the ability to light or pass their torch through the site.

Each individual alumnus on the site has their own page and can view how many times they’ve passed their torch through social media or by email. In an individual hasn’t lit their torch yet, they can click through on the microsite directly to the Colgate donation form to make a gift. Through collaboration with Colgate and some special coding, we were also able to make the donations from the microsite trackable so that the Annual Giving staff could document the success of the campaign.

In less than 24 hours, the “Pass the Torch” campaign helped Colgate secure more than 114 online gifts, 20 of which came from individuals who passed their torch. To date the top passer has successfully passed his torch more than 50 times through the site via the email and Facebook shares. Forty-six alumni have successfully passed their torches and the prices are still anyone’s to win. Since the start of the campaign Colgate has secured 1,965 alumni donors.

Check out some of the work Cowley put together for the campaign and be sure to go to to see the working microsite (and if you’re a Colgate alum, to donate)!

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