Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

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.


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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.

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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.

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LSUAny successful athletics department will be a active member of their community and seek ways to engage fans with events that take place off the athletic field or court. Specifically, donors appreciate efforts made to bring fans together in ways that are family friendly and involve interaction with coaches and players.

Several universities are taking advantage of a unique fall holiday, Halloween, and incorporating it into an event that will please supporters and the community.

LSU Halloween BOOzar: The week before Halloween, LSU is hosting a free trick-or-treat event for families that will provide children and adults the opportunity to meet various LSU athletes. The free event will also allow guests to participate in activities and get player autographs.

Northern Illinois University Husky Halloween Bash: The Bash will take place on Halloween, between the home football and volleyball games at NIU. The event is free to all, and those who come dressed will be granted admission to the night volleyball game as well. Men’s and women’s basketball team members will be handing out candy, and NIU 2009 hall of fame members will also be recognized during the event.

Vanderbilt: Special pre-game activities on Saturday before the home football game against Georgia Tech are sure to guarantee increased children attendance. Trick-or-treating, carnival rides, live music, and autographs from the basketball teams will highlight the events, and guests can bring as much candy as they can carry into the stadium.

These events, while unlikely to bring in a wave of gifts, do provide plenty of goodwill in the community, provide family opportunities to get involved with student-athletes, and bring supporters to campus for reasons other than a sporting event. In the long run, the gifts may come as supporters become to feel more connected to the university and athletics.


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Martin Stadium

Martin Stadium opened September 30, 1972.

Washington State University is using town hall meetings to speed the process of Phase III of its Martin Stadium Renovation. The third step in the four-phase process will feature the addition of luxury suites, loge boxes, and club seats atop the north stands of the stadium. The WSU Athletic Foundation hopes that the town hall meetings will lead to the investment in 80 percent of the club seats. If this level is reached by December 18, the renovation can be completed by the 2011 Cougar Football season, one year ahead of schedule.

Portions of Phase I and Phase II were completed between September 2007 and August 2008. Phase I included the addition renovations to the restrooms in Martin Stadium, new stadium entrances, and year round ticket office. Phase II involved another allotment of restroom upgrades, a new parking area, and a new entry gate. Each of the first two stages involved improving areas that often plague a fan’s experience at athletic events: restrooms, parking, and concessions.

There will be six town hall meetings held in some of the cities with the most Cougar supporters. Five will take place in the state of Washington (Pullman, Seattle, South Sound, Tri-Cities, and Spokane) and another in Portland, Oregon. The town hall meetings will feature Washington State Director of Athletics, Jim Sterk, and members of the WSU Athletic Foundation staff. The town hall meetings will be open to the general public with special invitations sent out to supporters in each particular area.

Town hall meetings allow foundation staffs to get in front of supporters while encouraging their participation in the planning process. By taking these presentations on the road, Washington State was able to get face-to-face meetings with many potential amenity purchasers. This is crucial for the all-important third phase of the renovation that requires mass participation to close each of the boxes and club seats. Washington State also kept the meetings open to the public to allow potential donors who might not be on its radar to attend the event. Town hall meetings can be a great tactic for development staffs to use for a variety of objectives, but it is important to limit their use to prevent over-kill with potential attendees.

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The Syracuse Orange Club has partnered up with Burdick Lexus for a uniqie sponsorship.

The Syracuse Orange Club has partnered up with Burdick Lexus for a uniqie sponsorship.

The Syracuse Orange Club has partnered with a local Lexus dealership to sponsor its pre-game tent for football games this football season. The Burdick Lexus Orange Club Tent deal was created by Syracuse ISP and allows Lexus to reach a target customer group in its market. The tent, which is located in the Football Family Fun Zone on the University Quad, is open before every Syracuse home game. Orange Club members are given the opportunity to test drive a Lexus and be entered for a chance to win an Orange Fan Package or a Carrier Dome sideline experience by entering the tent.

This is an example of an athletics sponsorship arm teaming up with its development department on a sponsorship partnership. The alliance between the two revenue generating groups in the athletics department benefits both sponsors and donors. Burdick Lexus, already a major supporter of the Orange Club, gets the opportunity to more actively promote its support of the group on game days. By naming the tent, the sponsor can gather key demographic information about an important customer group in the Syracuse market. It simultaneously provides Orange Club members to test drive a car, including the opportunity to be rewarded with unique Syracuse athletics opportunities.

Many other schools could reach a similar partnership with its sponsorship sales team and fundraising department. By allowing exclusive access to the donors through sponsorship of their hospitality tent, the corporations are gaining exposure to an affluent demographic, while donors receive special opportunities for being a part of the fundraising annual giving club.

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MiamiOfOhioRedHawksMiami University (OH) gives members of the Red & White Club and the Oxford community a great opportunity to meet RedHawk coaches and student-athletes. With their Red & White Club luncheons, fans get to listen to head coaches speak about their respective sports and meet the student-athletes that they support with their donations. These afternoon events are a great way for donors to feel more involved in the program.

What makes the Red & White Club luncheons unique is their relative affordability. For only $10, members can RSVP for the luncheon events, and get “inside” access that comes with a higher price tag at many institutions. The opportunities don’t stop there, however, as the events are also open to the public for just $5 dollars more. At $15, community members who are not Red & White Club members can take advantage of this amazing benefit as well.

Of course, the luncheons not only serve as great benefits for current Red & White Club members, but also as fantastic recruiting tools for new members. At just $15 for lunch and an opportunity to meet Miami coaches and athletes, a $100 commitment to join the club should be an easy sell. With Miami spends more than $5 million per year on student-athlete scholarships, every new member to the Red & White club helps them reach their goal.

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