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Posts Tagged ‘Donor’

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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uo_logoIn an unusual series of events taking place over the last few weeks, the University of Oregon Athletics Department and (specifically) head football coach Chip Kelly have generated sizable goodwill capital. After a disappointing loss at Boise State to begin the season, one Oregon alumni and fan wrote the head coach to request a refund for the fans travel expenses from Portland to Boise. In a surprising response, the coach wrote the fan a check for the $439, which was later returned with a thank you note from the fan.

When coaches, especially those in high profile positions, reach out to alumni and donors in an unexpected way, the donors are typically impressed. After all, donor/coach interaction is the main reason so many coaches participate in fundraising events such as banquets and golf tournaments. However, one must wonder what the potential effects of Coach Kelly’s response may be to Oregon and other programs across the nation. Will enabling fans/donors such as this only elicit more complaints such as this in the future? In addition, how might this effect the development office at Oregon, and how might it change their relationship with this donor?

Time will tell if the coach’s response to the complaint will generate mass goodwill, or just more letters to the football offices. In either case, this gesture has certianly brought some positive PR to the Oregon Football team, and has made at least one fan a supporter of Coach Kelly for life.

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