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2 min read

Berklee College of Music: Timely Emergency Relief During COVID Pandemic

berklee college of music building

Life turned upside down for Berklee staff and students when the novel Coronavirus began spreading across the country. Students were forced to scatter. Berklee was able to help their students quickly because they were able to create and track campaigns with the tools provided by iDonate.

Berklee College of Music is a world renowned institute for contemporary music with campuses in Boston, MA and Valencia, Spain. Berklee’s commitment to arts education is reflected in the work of its students, faculty, and alumni—hundreds of whom have been recognized with Grammy, Tony, Oscar, and Emmy awards.

Significant Growth

In April and May, Berklee’s digital giving was up 300%. Berklee was able to use the donations to:

  • quickly provide partial refunds for meal plans and housing
  • continue to pay student workers with on-campus jobs
  • help students through emergency grants

 

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The Need

Like most of the world, life turned upside down for Berklee staff and students when the novel Coronavirus began spreading across the country. The campus in Boston had to be closed for the bulk of the Spring semester and throughout the summer. This meant that students who had moved to Boston from across the country were suddenly without access to their dorm rooms and rehearsal facilities. Students were forced to scatter home across the country or find alternative housing in Boston. The school wanted to do everything they could to help students get home or find places to live, while still continuing a world class music education. Many students also had jobs on campus which meant they had a potential loss of income as well.

Emergency Campaign for Students

When the school was forced to close their Boston campus, the fundraising team knew exactly what to do and acted quickly. They already had emergency student aid fundraising language that had been approved by their legal team ready to go, they simply needed to add in details about the current situation.

With email copy ready to go, they quickly created a campaign and embed iDonate, that allowed them to effectively accept donations and track the money raised for this designated campaign. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Berklee continued to communicate the needs to their donors, alumni, and the parents of current students. The campaign continued through #GivingTuesdayNow on May 5th.

Learned from Experience

This was not the first time that Berklee had dealt with the sudden relocation of students because of an unexpected event. A fire near their Boston campus had spread and ended up causing damage to one of their buildings a few years ago. This forced them to quickly find a new location for students to live. Because of this event, Berklee understood the costs students would face and how to provide the most help. With that experience, Berklee knew exactly what to do when the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to do the same thing again.

Results

In April and May, Berklee experienced significant growth in digital giving compared to the previous year. Their giving in those two months was up more than 300%. This allowed the school to quickly provide partial refunds for meal plans and housing, continue to pay student workers with on-campus jobs, and help students through emergency grants.

They achieved these results so quickly because they had already thought through emergency response fundraising and they were able to create and track their campaigns quickly with the tools provided by iDonate.

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