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Archive for the ‘Tips’ 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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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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Wisconsin BadgersThe University of Wisonsin-Madison dedicated the newly created Thomas Zimmer Cross Country Course on Saturday, October 3. The course is the first dedicated cross country course the UW cross country team has competed on in decades. The course was spearheaded by gifts from Thomas Zimmer, a long-time supporter of Badger athletics and collegiate runner at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and Chuck LaBahn, a former Badger swimmer and recently retired CEO of Orion Corporation.

Zimmer cut the ribbon at the dedication ceremony prior to the course’s debut at the inaugural Wisconsin adidas Invitational. The course was put in Zimmer’s name to honor his many years of service and support to the Badger Fund. The course runs adjacent to the University Ridge golf course and allows the nationally ranked men’s and women’s cross country teams, 13th and 28th respectively in the most recent U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Rankings, a top of the line home course.

This gift is a great example of engaging aid from donors for non-revenue sports. With the two major donors having competed as student-athletes for non-revenue sports, they saw the rare opportunity to show support to sports often over looked by athletic development funds. Cross country courses also present a unique way to improve the competitive environment for a large number of student-athletes while not requiring constructing a brand new facility.

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Dan Cloran spoke at the Follett's Sports Business Forum at Ohio University on October 2.

Dan Cloran spoke at the Follett's Sports Business Forum at Ohio University on October 2.

Dan Cloran treated the Follett’s Sports Business Forum with an educational and inspirational presentation on athletics development and advancing in the world of sports. Cloran, the Executive Director of Athletic Development, Annual Fund, and Alumni Affairs at Xavier University in Cincinnati, gave the audience of undergraduate and graduate students many key tidbits to carry into the sports industry.

Cloran outlined his career path to his current position, which includes a stop in the retail world at Sherwin Williams before finding his true calling as the director of development and alumni affairs at Cincinnati’s Moeller High School. While at Moeller, Cloran learned the art of development and went on to work as a Development Consultant for Field Development Consultants.

Cloran described the steps he took to develop the All for One Club at Xavier University, which has led Xavier to double its annual fund during his tenure. While handling most of the day-to-day operations of the All for One Club during his eight years at Xavier, Cloran recently handed over the reigns to Matt Mattmiller to allow him to focus on more of the large donors at Xavier.

Cloran structures his presentation to the large crowd of undergraduates and explained what development really means. He stated that development isn’t fundraising, “that is selling candy bars,” but cultivating a relationship between a donor and the institution. He quoted one of the great developers of all-time, Roberto Clemente, to say, “If you have a chance to make life better for other and fail to do so, you are wasting your time on earth.” This is what Cloran tries to do on a daily basis.

Cloran concluded his talk by talking about some of his greatest success stories while at Xavier. These included cultivating a relationship with one Xavier’s biggest donors by changing light bulbs at their vacation home and helping them with whatever they need to be able to ask them for a donation and receive a commitment on the spot. He also told the story of using Xavier’s first African-American basketball player to show donors the influence they have on Musketeer student-athletes.

Cloran did a fantastic job of giving the audience a view into his every day life as a developer for Xavier University. It was clear to everyone in the audience that this man loves what he does and is very successful at it.

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Bob Stoops, football head coach at the Univers...

Bob Stoops recently made a six-figure gift to the Price College of Business.

On the heels of their recent tennis facility dedication, the Oklahoma Sooners announced that Bob Stoops is giving $150,000 to the Price College of Business. The donation will go towards allowing junior faculty members the opportunity to continue their research and teach at the undergraduate level.

This move, which obviously supports the college of business, furthers the goodwill Oklahoma has created with the academic areas of campus. Earlier this year, ADF wrote about Oklahoma’s $7 million dollar donation back to the general university.

Tennessee Athletics donated $10.35 million back to the school.

Tennessee Athletics donated $10.35 million back to the school.

This continues to be a growing trend in college athletics. Kansas has recently approved the construction of the Gridiron Club, which was passed with a substantial donation back to the general University. Tennessee, who gave $10.35 million, and Florida, who gave $6 million, have given surplus dollars back campus in addition to many others.

Moves like these build goodwill with key constituents across campus and helps cool the anti-athletics talk at many schools. If athletics departments can continue to give back to the campus, it makes it more difficult for critics to discourage the construction of facilities and high coaches salaries as the value provided through athletics to the university enriches the entire institution.

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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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