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The Deacon RV is a big attraction at Wake Forest football games

The Deacon RV is a big attraction at Wake Forest football games

Premium parking is one of the most sought-after benefits for donors, especially at those schools with strong football and basketball programs. At many universities, donors must reach the highest of levels to get a parking pass close to the event. At Wake Forest, the athletics department has taken this to the next level by incorporating special tailgating privileges into their plan.

The Deacon Club, which has nine different benefit/donation levels, distributes some of their benefits based on a priority point system, much like other universities. One of these benefits is the option to rent out the “Deacon RV,” a customized RV that is used during home football games as the ultimate tailgating vehicle.

Among others, some of the features of the Deacon RV are satellite television, green space, and indoor/outdoor seating. Throw in full service catering, and Deacon Club donors can have a truly first-class tailgating experience without any of the set-up and tear-down hassle. The opportunity to reserve the RV is based on Deacon Club priority points, and costs donors approximately $3,000 for the game (depending on extras).

This unique benefit is one that caters to the high-level donors, but is still an excellent (and very public) way to recognize the people that give the most to the Deacon Club.

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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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