After jamming to music during silent disco, watching the morale captains show off their dance routines and coming together to shake the floor of the Grand Ballroom during rave hour, there was only one last thing to do. It was time for the BuckeyeThon leadership team to reveal that this year, The Ohio State University raised a record-breaking total of $1,603,437.49 for the kids.

          This year, BuckeyeThon’s goal was to raise 2 million dollars for Nationwide Children’s Hospital. They had been working with a nonprofit throughout the year to discuss and plan out a partnership for the future.

          “For our end of that partnership, they would donate a large sum of money to Nationwide Children's Hospital to support a specific aspect of pediatric cancer research that BuckeyeThon was not already funding,” shares Imran Nuri, a second year finance student at The Ohio State University and the newly appointed President of BuckeyeThon.

          Unfortunately, due to being unable to determine which project or type of research the money would be helping, as well as leadership changes on the nonprofit’s end, the BuckeyeThon team was not able to sign the contract in time for this year’s dance marathon.

          “Our leadership team was upset for a moment but not for

long. They immediately began to brainstorm ideas for how their

committees could contribute to fundraising as much as possible

in the time we had left until the Dance Marathon. The team

understood that even though we were not getting a large

donation that we were expecting, it was not time to give up.

It was time to push harder than ever. The team was simply

resilient,” Nuri mentioned.

          Since the BuckeyeThon team knew they would no longer

receive their large donation from the non-profit, they turned

their attention to marketing to the students on campus.

          “Our marketing strategies try to target three different groups of people: the people that are affected by the cause, the people that do it because their best friend, sorority, fraternity are doing it and the people that do it because they want to be a part of the awesome experience of BuckeyeThon and what it stands for. We understand that some emails sent will strike with some but not with others,” says Colin Quinn, a third year biology student at The Ohio State University that has been on the BuckeyeThon executive board since his freshman year.

          Along with marketing to the students of campus, the BuckeyeThon team relied on selling the student experience to their corporate sponsors for donations. Due to BuckeyeThon’s efforts in the last four to five years, they have been able to increase their sponsorships as well their relationships with their previous sponsors.

          “We use that [sponsorship] money to reinvest in our operating costs. So what we will say to a corporate sponsor is maybe you want to give a $10,000 donation to BuckeyeThon, well you can either donate that $10,000 directly to Nationwide Children’s Hospital or you can invest it in us, where we can use it to promote student fundraising and then that gift can become five times greater,” Quinn says.

                                                                                                                                                                                   Although BuckeyeThon                                                                                                                                                                              was not able to solidify the                                                                                                                                                                                    sponsorship with the non-profit,                                                                                                                                                                          they were able to gain Delta                                                                                                                                                                                  Airlines as a new sponsor. The                                                                                                                                                                              Children’s Miracle Network                                                                                                                                                                                    Hospitals (CMN), a large non-                                                                                                                                                                               profit organization that fundraises                                                                                                                                                                        for hospitals around the country,                                                                                                                                                                          has a branch of their non-profit                                                                                                                                                                            that focuses on dance marathons                                                                                                                                                                        and helps to connect dance                                                                                                                                                                                  marathons all across the country.                                                                                                                                                                          Since Delta is a sponsor for CMN,                                                                                                                                                                        BuckeyeThon was able to secure                                                                                                                                                                          a sponsorship from Delta.

          During the event, BuckeyeThon tweeted “for the next hour from 3:30-4:30pm, all donations will be matched by @Delta! Raise $36 for the 36 kids in active treatment at NCH right now! Your $36 becomes $72. Thanks Delta Air Lines! #OSUForTheKids#DeltaGreaterGood.”

          The matching hour allowed Delta to not only engage with the college student population but also helped BuckeyeThon stay on track in beating last year’s grand total.

          “We want to use corporate money most responsibly and most effectively, as well as to create the best benefit for our partners. When that number is raised, we want our sponsors to know they are just as much a part of that number as we are,” Quinn states.

          BuckeyeThon continues to build upon their sponsorships, in hopes that they will raise even more money for the fight against pediatric cancer.

          “There continues to be planning in the works to figure out how the non-profit and BuckeyeThon can work together for the future,” says Nuri.

          Even without the non-profit as their sponsor, BuckeyeThon was able to surpass last year’s total.

          “To say that Ohio State students raised $1.6 million is just absolutely incredible and Ohio State students should be really proud of that number. They are making such an impact and difference in the lives of kids in our community. To say it was a success is an understatement and I’m looking forward to what they will accomplish in the future,” says Quinn.

Photos Courtesy of BuckeyeThon