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Archive for the ‘Donor Reseating Plans’ Category

IllinoisIn late April, ADF posted about the trend of athletics departments allowing their donors to choose their own seats for home basketball event during re-seating attempts. We found that universities were getting fantastic feedback from implementing programs such as this. The more choices fans have regarding their game day experience, the happier they will be.

The University of Illinois is taking this concept to the parking lots. In a program called “I Decide Parking,” members of Illinois’ annual fund (the I FUND) are given the opportunity to choose the game day parking lot that best fits their needs. Different lots tend to have different experiences, such as tailgating and parties, that cater to specific segments of donors. The lots in close proximity to the stadium will be more attractive to those who do not want to walk as far to the game. Just like ticket selection, the lots will be available on a priority point basis, and the parking spots will be guaranteed for anyone who donates to the I FUND.

Thus far the program seems to be a success, with over half the qualified members signed up for “their” lot in the first week. Illinois is leading the way with the trend towards improving customer service at the collegiate level, and more universities will certainly be following in their footsteps.

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UW reseating program yields positive results. 

 

UW reseating program yields positive results.

 

There are occasional headaches that come with any job, and in athletics development one of the largest is reseating donors. As priority points change and new arenas are built, departments have to spend a considerable amount of time every few years to overhaul their donor seating areas.

 
At the University of Washington, like many other schools, seats are reallocated based on priority points, giving levels, and other common drivers. According to Ken Winstead, former Associate Athletics Director for Development at UW, the development department at Washington needed a less painful process for both the fans and the staff for reallocating their seats for men’s basketball this year. The result was a plan that allowed UW donors to physically select their own seats.
 
Prior to the 2008-2009 season, donors and season ticket holders were assigned a time at which they could come to the arena and pick out their seats for the upcoming season. Those who had attained a higher priority in the UW points system were given the first crack at selecting their seats. While some chose seats they had before, others found that they could upgrade their seats to a better location.  
 
In addition to selecting their own seats, guests were privy to a number of other benefits during the process, such as complimentary refreshments, encounters with UW basketball staff and players, and interaction with other fans. UW athletics, in return, got a host of happy donors and additional interaction with their main fan base.
 
The process may have taken slightly longer than before when UW allocated the seats themselves, but the outcome was extremely well received from donors and fans. For the full Winstead recap on the UW reseating process, click here.

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John Calipari has been contacting supporters of UK Athletics

John Calipari has been contacting supporters of UK Athletics

For the most part the men’s basketball head coaching carousel has settled down towards the end of this month. Coaches have made their moves to other programs, retired, or been let go. In any case, a movement among the leadership of one of the most visible program in any athletics department will cause grumbling from media, fans and donors.

However, regardless of the circumstances of the change, most donors will be receptive to the new coach should he/she reach out to the base. This can come in the form of e-mails, attending donor functions, or personal phone calls. During this time, the coach can learn about the donors who support the program and begin to build a relationship with key constituents.

This has recently occurred at the University of Kentucky, where John Calipari has been making phone calls to high-end donors and attending donor functions. Doing this has revitalized a fan base that was dissapointed at season end. His ability to entertain has excited not only the fans, but also the people who monetarily support his program.

At Northern Illinois University, Head Football Coach Jerry Kill spent much of his first weeks on the job attending donor functions, eating dinner with key supporters and winning over the fan base. This led to happier donors and an excited fan base before a football was snapped.

So when transition occurs, and if the coach is willing, getting him/her out in front of the fan base will go a long way to making supporters excited to dontate. They will feel like the money they give is going to someone they personally know.

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