Archive for the ‘NACDA 2009’ Category

NAADD and Ohio SAFMDuring this past year, Matt Kirinovic and Mike Milliron compiled data from a survey conducted for the NAADD organization in an effort to gather the best practices and peer comparison analysis from the industry. The two alums of the Ohio Univeristy Sports Administration Program were kind enough to share the final products of the research with Athletics Development Frontier.

The data was collected through an online survey of over 200 schools from around the nation at all levels of competition, from Junior and Community Colleges all the way to D-1 FBS. Kirinovic and Milliron also conducted 30 personal interviews to gather some qualitative answers to questions.

To see their findings, please click the below links to view their PowerPoint presentation as well as their written deliverable. There is some very useful information and real life data to be found within the documents.

NAADD PowerPoint

NAADD Written Deliverable

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NAADDEvery development office in the nation has their key statistics: athlete graduation rates, APR scores, annual funds raised, capital campaign dollars raised. These stats are usually your key selling points when speaking with donors, other athletics department personnel, and colleagues in the industry.

At this year’s NAADD Fundamentals of Development session, Whit Babcock of the University of Missouri spoke about what to do with this information and how to use it to your advantage. In what he referred to as the “Brag Sheet,” Babcock suggested that every department spend time to layout, on one sheet of paper, “what they are good at.” This one page document should be well known (even memorized) by everyone in the department and in an easily accessible location.

This document has several purposes. First, it requires departments to focus on and seek out these key pieces of information.  Knowing these statistics and understanding why they are important to the department is essential when speaking with potential donors. Second, it provides consistency. Often times development officers from the same school could give out inconsistent information and statistics simply because they did not have it set on a Brag Sheet, a universally known an agreed upon document. Finally, the Brag Sheet is a selling tool. The multitude of information that can be displayed and relayed to donors is powerful enough, and if just one piece of information encourages them to make a gift then the tool has proved its worth.

The Brag Sheet is a simple concept, but a powerful driver of consistency and knowledge within an athletics department. After hearing so many of the industries leaders reference their Brag Sheet during the informational sessions at the convention, it seems clear that every development department around the country should look into developing their own version. Just remember, this document is constantly changing and should be revised frequently to have the greatest impact.

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logo_niu1This past weekend at the NACDA convention many schools discussed the difficulties they faced with former student-athletes giving back to the program. Many reason were debated, such as a bad experience, their coach getting fired, and feeling as if they had already given back through their athletic careers.

What this boils down to is a need to get creative with the former student-athlete giving programs. Northern Illinois University had done just that with their intiatives to increase former student-athlete involvement in their Varsity Club.

One great idea was sending a Huskie Letter of Intent. This letter, which appealed to the recipient by asking them to sign a “second” letter of intent with the school, recieved their highest response rate of any mail piece for the year. Within the text, there were highlights of the Varsity Club as well as details on the intiatives for greater participation and the importance of giving back.

In addition to the letter, the Varsity Club sponsored several events throughout the year, including the Hall of Fame dinner, senior awards banquets, and other student-athlete ceremonies. This allowed for greater brand awareness from both former and current student-athletes while costing very little money.

These are just some of the great ideas that have enabled Northern Illinois’ Varsity Club grow in both participants and dollars raised. The school has done a good job of laying a foundation for future success in the soliciting of former student-athletes. Click here for more information.

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NAADDThere were several themes that emerged from the NAADD Convention this past week. The role of new media and technology in development, strategies for dealing with the poor economy, and a focus on core values were a few of the main points that were presented at several sessions over the course of the convention. One of the most stressed themes, however, was the importance of personal touch and personal organization in the development process.

“A brochure never raised a dollar – people do.” – Tim Hall, University of Missouri, Kansas City

During the many sessions that took place, there were discussions about twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other new methods of communication that had everyone wondering when they should jump in and at what level can these new tools be useful. However, nearly every speaker noted how important it would become in the next few years to emphasize the personal touch with donors.

In response to the popularity of technology in development, “Never lose the personal touch.” – Jim Phillips, Northwestern University

Among the skills a good development officer will have, listening and a “thick-skinned” attitude were repeatedly mentioned. Several strategies to encourage a donor to speak about themselves were mentioned, but none of them are effective if you are not a good listener. Don’t take notes during a meeting, one panelist suggested, but be a good listener and write down what you must when the meeting is over.

“Development is about building relationships and asking for money. ¬†Between the two of those is being a good listener.” – Pat Chun, Ohio State University

“Development officers must be thick-skinned and organized.” – Dan DeRose, Donor, Colorado State University, Pueblo

The personal touch does not come without some sacrifice, however. It was highlighted several times that a good development officer has to play their role in the office, on campus, and in the community. Everyone around could be a donor, or could know someone considering a gift to the university. It is essential to represent the university, athletics department, and yourself at all times.

“You must be ‘on’ at all times, and treat everyone with respect.” – Dan Cloran, Xavier University

ADF will continue to post about happenings at the NACDA/NAADD Convention in the weeks to come.

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NACDAToday Rob and I attended the Fundamentals of Athletics Development (FOAD) session at NACDA. During this time we were able to dicuss the art of development with young fundraisers as well as hear some best practices from successful industry professionals. More posts on the knowledge shared during this session will come later, but here is a small sample.

Stephen Ponder, Senior Associate Athletics Director, Development and the Sun Devil Club at Arizona State University and , spoke on the first steps taken after breaking into the industry. In the conclusion of his speech, Ponder highlighted some of his operating principles, which follow:

  • Be passionate about what you are doing
    • Ponder stated that as a fundraising professional, you cannot raise money if you are not passionate about your job. People will give to those who can display their passion for the school and also the position.
  • Follow up with people
    • This was interesting as he commented that not only should donors be sent a follow up thank you, whoever gave you the contact should recieve one as well. This increases the lines of communication and keeps everyone on the same page.
  • Know your priorities
    • Every development professional should be cognizant of what they are supposed to do every single day. Whether it is notes, calls, visits, or other duties, a fundraiser should know what they need to do.
  • Customer service
    • Ponder emphasized that this is a crucial part of the operation, but it did not mean always telling the donor yes. It also means treating everyone with respect and in a way that shows you care. If a certain benefit occurs at one level, don’t bend the rules and provide it to lower levels. It diminishes your brand.

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NACDALater this week, Rob and I will be visiting Orlando for the NACDA convention. Our time will be spent with other industry professionals learning about best practices and discussing challenges that face athletics development. We will report on the sessions and the things that are discussed to the best of our ability.

While we cannot recreate the energy and excitement of attending the NACDA and NAADD convention, we seek to bring you the best ideas and discussions we observe during our time there. The most relevant information will be posted as soon as possible, so be on the lookout for more great coverage from Athletics Development Frontier.

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