In year-long fundraising effort, creativity is key for UDance

The Review - UDance Event Coverage Blue Henvelopes
Jacob Baumgart/THE

Wednesday night, about 30 people wrote letters requesting donations for UDance, a 12-hour dance marathon that raises money to fight childhood cancer.


In 108 days, the Bob Carpenter Center will be so quiet that you could hear a pin drop.

All eyes will be on the stage as signs with every character of “FOR OUR HEROES!” lift to the sky, one by one. Anticipation will build as the two cards displaying cents go in the air, followed by three more showing how many hundreds of dollars they raised.

The crowd will start to murmur as another three marking the thousands are proudly lifted.

Then, one final card for the millions will be hoisted.

The crowd will burst when it sees the total amount that UDance raised this year. Smoke will billow out of cannons and tears are sure to be plentiful.

For now, the Bob Carpenter Center is empty, and UDance members fill the Rodney Room of Perkins Student Center chipping away at their year-long fundraising effort. Wednesday night, about 30 people wrote letters requesting donations for UDance, a 12-hour dance marathon that raises money to fight childhood cancer.

UDance raised more than $2.2 million this year. The largest chunk of the fundraising comes in the two months leading up to the event, which will be on March 22, but it takes a year’s worth of creative initiatives to reach that goal. Wednesday’s effort, called Blue Henvelopes was just one of them.

Last year, Blue Henvelopes raised about $75,000, said UDance’s community outreach director, Sara Donnelly. This year, she hopes the campaign’s total will eclipse $80,000.

Donnelly declined to comment on UDance’s current fundraising total and how this compares to past years.

“All the individual fundraisers, and no matter if they are bringing in $100 on their UDance page or $1,000 on their UDance page or $5,000, it doesn’t matter their donation, how big or how small,” said Donnelly, who is a junior accounting and finance double major. “We’re all in it together. That’s what’s so special about this school and this cause.”

This was the second Blue Henvelopes event that UDance sponsored this year. The first one has raised about $16,000 so far.

UDance will host another Blue Henvelopes during spring semester, on top of facilitating the drives for about 20 student organizations, the community outreach team said.

Coming up with new ways to fundraise for such a year-round effort is always challenging, Donnelly said. UDance tries to conduct at least one social media campaign per month and has profit shares at local restaurants every Tuesday.

Still, much of the effort relies on individual fundraisers, who try to find creative ways to raise money.

Carly Sullivan, who is a member of the community outreach committee, leverages her sense of humor to raise money on social media.

Most recently, she posted a punch card online with wacky and embarrassing dares that she would do if people donated $5.

“I showered with my clothes on,” Sullivan said “I tripped embarrassingly in Trabant, so that was really big for me. I raised $51 doing that.”

Sullivan, a junior interpersonal communication and psychology double major, also hopes people’s generosity around the holidays will help the cause.

This year, she plans to send out Blue Henvelopes with her Christmas cards and ask for donations outside of a grocery store in her hometown of Wantagh, New York on Christmas eve.

Danielle Alfano, UDance’s family relations director and a senior early childhood education major, requests donations in similar ways.

She sends out Blue Henvelopes to older neighbors who don’t use social media and completes challenges online to reach those friends who use social networks.

Like Sullivan, Alfano creates holiday-themed campaigns.

In honor of last St. Patrick’s Day, Alfano posted a video of her doing an Irish dance every time somebody donated to her page.

While she was on Thanksgiving break this year, Alfano promised to jump into a body of water with her dad if she raised enough money. This campaign alone raised about $300.

“I said like if I raise this amount of money, I’ll do it,” Alfano told her friends on social media. “If I raise even more, my dad’ll do it with me, which was successful, so I froze this Thanksgiving.”

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