The University of Arkansas has expanded the breadth of the Razorback Foundation, Inc. to include all 19 of its intercollegiate sports. The Razorback Foundation, Inc. has taken over the operations of the Women’s Athletic Annual Fund upon a vote by the Razorback Foundation Board. This move now allows for a more focused fundraising approach for Arkansas as it attempts to expand its current donation efforts.

The Razorback Foundation has worked for its seven male sports while the Women’s Athletic Annual Fund oversaw the giving efforts for the 12 women’s sports. The Razorback Foundation coordinates the annual fund drive for Arkansas athletics and oversees the priority seating for each of Arkansas’ revenue generating sports. The athletics department’s development staff performs the ask for major gifts for Razorback athletics.

The move, effective July 1, 2010, centralizes the foundation for the 19 Arkansas sports and 460 student-athletes. Other schools have performed similar moves recently, including the University of Tennessee, which was highlighted in an article on this site. Tennessee consolidated the funds from its separate men’s and women’s athletics programs. Combining funds development teams to have a more focused approach to generating donations. Consolidation also allows for greater foundation synergy as programs have one team working towards greater development goals. It also provides for a simpler scenario for those donors that want to give to both men and women student-athletes. This works particularly well at schools like Arkansas and Tennessee that have major revenue generating sports for both men and women.

Making waves across the sports industry, Boise State‘s announcement that they will begin selling “Bronco Stock” has unveiled a new way to raise money for the athletics department. Those who purchase the stock will become members of Boise State Broncos, Inc., receive stock certificates and voting privileges.

200,000 shares of stock will be issued at a $100 price tag, making the new venture capable of raising $20 million dollars to raise money for a new facility for student-athletes. The stock is also transferable to family members or other interested parties. However, the money used to purchase stock will not allow shareholders benefits, such as priority parking or priority seating.

This new system is certainly an innovative approach to raising money for a new building. Instead of focusing on a variety of large gifts, the department is selling many small gifts that will be used to build a new facility. This allows those in the Boise community who may not have the ability to give a the larger levels to be a part of the new building. If a sense of urgency and feeling of involvement can be created with this program, shareholders will feel valued and a part of the Boise State success.



A picture of the outside of the Joe Craft Center on the campus at the University of Kentucky.

The University of Kentucky has recently announced that they will be building a new building to house their basketball team. The team has spent the past 31 years living in Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge, located across the street from Memorial Coliseum and the new Craft Center.

The Difference Makers, a committed group of UK supporters, donated the money for the new Lodge. Joe Craft, who supplied the $6 million to name the new basketball facility, heads the group and spurred the initiative. The new housing is to be named the Wildcat Coal Lodge to honor the unique tie Kentucky has to the coal industry and its importance in the state’s economy.

There are a couple of unique points in this story. For one, Joe Craft, along with his group of supporters, is once again supplying the school with a large donation to support the basketball program. The repeat donation is a testament to the stewardship practices at the University where the donor still felt connected to the school; even after his naming gift for the new practice facility was made. Additionally, the department was able to leverage their good relationship with Craft to find a group of committed donors willing to further support the program.

One area of athletics development that is often overlooked is athletic training and sports medicine. These are crucial areas to any athletics department as they help keep student-athletes healthy during their respective schedules and throughout the off-season. There are three main formats for collecting donations for the sports medicine and athletic training areas: adding to a current facility, including it in a new facility, or building its own facility.

Adding to a current facility is a great option for facilitating a smaller gift. Sam Houston State used this platform in accepting the donation of a new ultra sound machine for its athletic training facility. A former athletic trainer, Billy “Doc” Wilson, who worked in that role at Sam Houston State for 20 years, donated the ultra sound machine. Generating donations from former athletic trainers or sports medicine staff provide a new demographic to solicit for donations.

carmelo anthony centerSyracuse University included brand new athletic training rooms when it built its state-of-the-art Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center. The athletic training rooms were an essential addition to the building plans to ensure the physical fitness and health of the basketball team. Along with the training rooms, the Melo Center includes a hydrotherapy room with top-of-the-line pools. Recognizing the benefits of athletic training is essential when building any new facility.

The University of North Carolina took a different route by building the Stallings-Evans Sports Medicine Center. The university is tripling the size of its current athletic training center with the facility. The center will serve the majority of UNC student-athletes while also housing the university’s exercise and sports science classes. The Rams Club is working with the university’s foundation to build the facility, using brick donations as a revenue generating effort for some of the final funds. Partnering with the university’s foundation is an upside of working on an athletic training and sports medicine center that include academic departments in those areas.

SpectacUALR Results

UALRThe University of Arkansas at Little Rock recently held their inaugural SpectacUALR event, a silent auction and awards ceremony to benefit UALR Athletics. The event (held in their newly constructed Jack Stephens Center) featured two main objectives, recognize alumnus Annette Fisher as the SpectacUALR Honoree and raise money for UALR Athletics.

Both objectives were met in tremendous fashion during the event which saw over 500 attendees and $180,000 raised to support the athletic department and their honored guest. The funds were raised in a variety of ways as the event promoted ticket sales, corporate partnerships, and a silent auctions. Surprisingly, $100,000 of the revenue generated was from the former two, and not silent auctions (as most benefit banquets do).

ULAR’s new approach to a banquet event shows that auction items are not the only revenue generator for athletics departments looking for big event results. Corporate partners and the ticket office can cash in on the goodwill created by a large benefit event. With UALR hosting the event in their own facility, the costs were certainly kept at a minimum. Their event shows that successful banquets and auctions should not be exclusively for donors, but for corporate sponsors and ticket holders as well.


WittenbergWittenberg University and The College of Wooster, long-time rivals in Division III athletics and the North Coast Athletic Conference, are staging the Mascot Face-Off to engage students and alumni. The competition involves voting for each Ohio school’s respective mascot, the Wittenberg Tiger and the Wooster Scot, on a centralized website. The voting started on October 26 and will last until November 14. While increasing school spirit is the main objective of the campaign, the schools are also using the competition as a way to generate donations to each school’s annual fund. With buttons from the competition website linking to each online giving page, distant alumni can vote for their favorite mascot and make a donation in one visit.

WoosterThe competition is using many social media avenues to promote the campaign to the wide-ranging alumni base. The homepage features YouTube videos of each school’s Dean of Students encouraging support from site visitors as well as videos by spirited students promoting the involvement of their fellow classmates. The competition also promotes each school’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, which promote the Mascot Face-Off. The challenge also features an RSS feed that gives subscribers regular updates about the competition.

This is a great example of using a rivalry to generate donations from donors. While many development departments use rivalries in everyday competition, but this campaign is unique as the two schools are working together to generate donations for the respective schools. Schools at every level could benefit from this Division III example.

The athletic emblem of the Bradley University ...

Bradley University leveraged their opening basketball season to help promote an auction designed to be Bradley’s largest fundraising event of the year. The Bids for the Braves Athletic Benefit allowed committed donors and fans the opportunity to purchase $90 tickets to attend the event.

The evening featured a live and silent auction featuring many donated gifts from around the community. The men’s and women’s basketball teams were introduced during the evening and patrons had the opportunity to mingle with them throughout. The gala was held at the Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino Ballroom off campus.

Often in athletics development, events are looked upon as more “friendraising” than “fundraising” opportunities. However, special evenings that encourage mass participation and include a large amount of donated items allow the athletics department to generate revenue through dinner tickets and auctions. These events are especially effective when they can be combined with the opening of a season or another exciting activity within the department.