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Archive for the ‘Revenue Generation Ideas’ Category

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.

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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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As a 2007 graduate from the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, I have received multiple pieces of e-mail and brochures encouraging me to give back to the school and help shape its future. None of these pieces were very revolutionary, simply brochures, letters, and newsletter e-mails.

A screen shot of the e-mail.

A screen shot of the e-mail.

However, yesterday I received an e-mail from the school with a leading question, “See the one question that will shape our future.” In the e-mail was a link that looked like the picture to the right. Once clicked upon, there was a video of a young man talking about the college and number one reason why people do not give back-they have never been asked. So here he was, asking me to pledge to donate a certain amount and help give back to the school.

When the video was over, I was prompted with a form that already had all of my information filled in, all I had to do is verify it was correct and click which amount I desired, which was $25, $50 or my own amount. Once this was done, I was asked if I would like to be contacted by phone, e-mail or mail.

The video player was put on a separate site customized for the school.

The video player was put on a separate site customized for the school.

This innovative design provides a different approach to the ask. In athletics, the school could leverage its relationship with a popular coach or administrator to make the ask, causing potential donors to feel the connection with the school and program. While this may not be good for soliciting large dollar amounts, it could be very effective for getting people on board. The ease of the process made it very easy from a donor standpoint.

The tool was developed by Pursuant Group, a fundraising agency that specializes in building tools for non-profits and other companies looking to increase their development capabilities.

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University of California
Image via Wikipedia

The Regents at the University of California recently approved the financing plan for the reconstruction of Memorial Stadium. The funds, which will be used to renovate and improve the west side of the stadium, will come completely from private donations being raised by the athletics department.

While this approach by itself may seem ordinary, Cal’s approach is truly groundbreaking as the department will fund the project through the Endowment Seating Program (ESP). In this model, the university is asking for donors to “purchase” a seat for an annual fee that can be paid through various payment options. There are four different price level and points as well as four different options. This chart provides an excellent comparison of the seats and the benefits associated with that level.

The ESP, which also has its own website, only affects 3,000 seats in the stadium. Yet these seats will generate enough revenue to not only renovate the stadium, but leave additional funds to create an endowment, one the school is publicizing could eventually reach $1 billion. This would ensure the athletics department a steady stream of income for the foreseeable future.

California Memorial Stadium

California Memorial Stadium

To date, the program has been received well, with 2,000 seats already being sold. These seats, depending on giving level, are held by the donor for a predetermined amount of time (ranging from 50 to 40 years). The seats can be resold or transferred under the donors discretion after payments and the letter of intent has been signed.

The donation for the seat also covers all amenities and the price of season tickets. Participants will be able to lock in the price of their seat for the duration of their endowment, making the seats a fixed yearly payment.

This approach allows donors the ability to choose their seats, not be subject to reseating, and to “own” their seats in the stadium. While this program may not be for all development operations, it highlights a school using a creative approach to fundraising and leveraging their current success to plan for the future.

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auburnOn Friday, September 4, the Auburn University Athletics department will debut its newest attraction: Auburn Football: Every Day… This reality-based television show will air once a week and will be dedicated to following the 2009 Tiger football team through pre-season practices, regular season games, and any postseason bowl invitations they receive. The show will give Auburn fans the “inside” look that so many seek out, but few have access to see.

Donors often cite interaction with student-athletes as the most rewarding part of giving to an athletics department. Every Day… provides the supporters of Auburn football with a personal look into life of the football team from the comfort of their own home or computer. A show such as this could provide Auburn with unique opportunities to recruit new members to their annual fund through commercials and advertisements on the show.

In addition, a show like this (at universities not large enough for a commercial broadcast) could also be provided as a benefit to donors. If the show is broadcasted online, a password-access to the content would provide a unique and desirable benefit to supporters. For non-donors, perhaps a fee could be charged to view the material. Based on the success of similar reality-based shows in sports, the benefits of a program such as this are essentially endless.

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Chapel Hill gained $6.4 million in one football game this fall.

Chapel Hill gained $6.4 million in one football game this fall.

A recent trend in college athletics has been the disclosure of economic impact studies of athletics departments. Perhaps brought on by the recession, these studies are proving the worth of a strong athletics program to their surrounding community.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently released a study done on one specific football game against Notre Dame. According to the study conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University‘s Center for Sport Leadership, the game brought $6.4 million for the Chapel Hill and Orange County economies. The study also states that the game raised $325,000 in local and state tax revenue.

The Ohio University Center for Sports Administration and Facility Management recently conducted a study for the athletics department on the economic impact of their program for their community. This study uncovered an economic impact of $8-10 million to a region of the state that has been historically economically stagnant.

While these studies can be applied directly to sponsorship revenue, they can also be used to build strong community relations. As a development officer, it is increasingly important to show the value of your program to the community. For those donors who are intrinsically motivated to give, knowing their money will also impact the surrounding community may be worthwhile information.

Additionally, for those departments with Gift-In-Kind giving programs, having such a number in literature and as a talking point can help sell the local businesses to provide trade as the value of the department has been quantified.

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Cornell uses yard sale to generate cash.

Cornell uses yard sale to generate cash.

With budget cuts on the horizon, extra cash is something that is hard to find these days in athletic departments. However, some departments may be sitting on a potential cash source that they may have never considered. Tucked away in coach storage closets and in equipment rooms around the nation are boxes full of old uniforms, hats, and other game-worn items that many fans or collectors find attractive. One way to generate a few needed dollars is to take these old items and have an old-fashioned yard sale.

Cornell University: The Big Red Athletic Department held their annual athletics yard sale last month by offering gear from most of their varsity sports including football, basketball, baseball, and hockey items. The event, which was open to the public, not only raises a little extra cash for the department, but also clears out closets and space in equipment rooms.
UNLV: The Running Rebels, after agreeing to an exclusive deal with Nike recently, had a recent yard sale to unload old coaches shirts and practice apparel. Prices for the equipment will range from $1 t0 $50.
Other universities are getting in on the action as well with UMass having held similar events in the past, and smaller schools such as Peace College of North Carolina getting in on the action too. Departments could take advantage of the success of these events by creating a donor event in conjunction with the yard sale, or giving donors first crack at the gear.

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