Posts Tagged ‘donors’

UALRThe University of Arkansas at Little Rock recently held their inaugural SpectacUALR event, a silent auction and awards ceremony to benefit UALR Athletics. The event (held in their newly constructed Jack Stephens Center) featured two main objectives, recognize alumnus Annette Fisher as the SpectacUALR Honoree and raise money for UALR Athletics.

Both objectives were met in tremendous fashion during the event which saw over 500 attendees and $180,000 raised to support the athletic department and their honored guest. The funds were raised in a variety of ways as the event promoted ticket sales, corporate partnerships, and a silent auctions. Surprisingly, $100,000 of the revenue generated was from the former two, and not silent auctions (as most benefit banquets do).

ULAR’s new approach to a banquet event shows that auction items are not the only revenue generator for athletics departments looking for big event results. Corporate partners and the ticket office can cash in on the goodwill created by a large benefit event. With UALR hosting the event in their own facility, the costs were certainly kept at a minimum. Their event shows that successful banquets and auctions should not be exclusively for donors, but for corporate sponsors and ticket holders as well.



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MiamiOfOhioRedHawksMiami University (OH) gives members of the Red & White Club and the Oxford community a great opportunity to meet RedHawk coaches and student-athletes. With their Red & White Club luncheons, fans get to listen to head coaches speak about their respective sports and meet the student-athletes that they support with their donations. These afternoon events are a great way for donors to feel more involved in the program.

What makes the Red & White Club luncheons unique is their relative affordability. For only $10, members can RSVP for the luncheon events, and get “inside” access that comes with a higher price tag at many institutions. The opportunities don’t stop there, however, as the events are also open to the public for just $5 dollars more. At $15, community members who are not Red & White Club members can take advantage of this amazing benefit as well.

Of course, the luncheons not only serve as great benefits for current Red & White Club members, but also as fantastic recruiting tools for new members. At just $15 for lunch and an opportunity to meet Miami coaches and athletes, a $100 commitment to join the club should be an easy sell. With Miami spends more than $5 million per year on student-athlete scholarships, every new member to the Red & White club helps them reach their goal.

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su logoAt Syracuse University, a strong relationship between the Syracuse Football Club (SFC, football alumni booster club) and the Athletics Department is leading to large donations and an energized fan base. This year, the SFC is helping Syracuse football in all-new ways, and it started with their first home football game this year.

In the season opener against Minnesota, the SFC contributed to the Orange with several initiatives. For the game, the SFC pledged $1 to Syracuse Football for every ticket sold. With an announced attendance over 48,000, the gift was quite substantial. In addition, the SFC sold Orange t-shirts ($3 or $5 for two) before the game in an effort to fill the Carrier Dome with Orange pride.

The SFC also runs a 50/50 raffle for each game, also with a portion of proceeds benefiting Orange football. In all, the football alumni group supports the program through monetary support and building pride among current students and other fans of Syracuse Athletics.

In this instance, there is a clear example of how a non-university fundraising group can work in conjunction with an athletics department to support student-athletes. In an era where athletics departments and external booster clubs are occasionally at odds, the SFC and Syracuse University seem to have an outstanding relationship. Check out the SFC website for their mission, other initiatives, and special programs that they run on the behalf of Syracuse Athletics.

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williamsAt the University of Illinois, two famous alumni athletes are making the trip back to Champaign to help with fundraising efforts at their alma-mater. Deron Williams and Steve Stricker will each give back to the university in the form of their appearances at major fundraising events this fall.

Williams will host the Illini Hoop Legends for Charity Dinner and Auction as well as a golf tournament the next day. Both events will feature well-known Illini basketball alumni with the focus of the event being on the 1989 team that advanced to the Final Four. With so many basketball legends in attendance, Illinois is certainly aiming to draw high-capacity donors to the events. Proceeds from the events will be split between the basketball program at Illinois and Williams’ local charities.

Stricker, in similar fashion, is working with his alma-mater to host the annual Stricker Illini Golf Classic. Like Williams, Stricker’s event will include a gala reception and auction in conjunction with the event in order to maximize the fundraising efforts. The tournament, which is so popular that it will certainly sell out, will have two waves of tee times, again offering many donors the opportunity to participate. All proceeds from Sticker’s event will benefit the Illini golf program.

Both of these events follow a successful formula: bring high-profile alumni back to campus, provide donors with first class experiences, combine the event with a dinner/auction, and make the event an annual staple in fundraising efforts.

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DuelRivalries are one of the most compelling and exciting pieces of collegiate athletics, and several institutions have taken their rivalries to the next level. The University of Utah and Brigham Young University have instituted a tradition that has been mirrored by many others. An annual competition between the schools across all sports where the winner takes home the “Deseret First Duel Cup.” Each time the two schools play each other during the year, points are awarded to the winner and totaled at the end of the season. Only this competition goes one step further to directly involve their donors in the outcome of the competition.

The Deseret First Duel Golf Tournament is the first event each year in the competition, and plots the donors and members of the athletics department staff at each school against each other. This year, there will be 30 teams (60 total individuals) for each university that will engage in a “Ryder Cup” style tournament. The winner of the tournament receives points towards their school’s total and will raise their flag at the golf course for the remainder of the year.

This event highlights one of the very few ways a donor can physically compete for the university in a meaningful sporting event. At prices to play in the tournament over $100, not only does the event build pride among the donors and athletics staff, but it has the potential to raise money as well. If a reception dinner was held afterwards, the price to play in such an event could easily climb to a substantial number.

Athletics departments looking for new ways to invigorate their donor base and build pride among the department staff should look no further than this type of golf outing.

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Often during the construction of a new facility, athletics departments will make bricks available for inscription to provide donors with the ability to personalize the new building. It is also a great way for the public support of the program to be commemorated in a permanent location.

Many schools currently offer some type of brick engraving opportunity. However, the pricing on the bricks and location widely vary from school to school. Here are some examples:

Indiana University:
A recently started project, this program offers donors and the general public the opportunity to engrave a brick in Glory Plaza, the entrance to the new North End Zone Facility set to open next week. Most bricks offer three lines of text, with varying levels and sizes, which range between 4×8, 8×8, and 8×8 with an IU logo on the top of the brick. 16 characters are allowed per line, giving participants plenty of room for their personal message. Prices vary between $100 for the 4×8 brick, $300 for the 8×8 brick, and $325 for the 8×8 brick with the IU logo.
northwestern logo
Northwestern University: Similar to Indiana, Northwestern offers a brick engraving option at their Champions Plaza, located atop the south end zone of Ryan Stadium. These bricks, which are the same size options as IU, offer 13 characters per line and donation levels vary widely. The 4×8 brick is $300, 8×8 is $500 and the 8×8 Logo brick is $1,000.

Texas State University: This brick program differs from a couple others in the fact that is offers a wide variety of sizes and inscription levels. The bricks range from the $250 4×8 option with 12 characters per line to the $1,000 8×16 option which allows for up to 28 characters per line. All bricks are placed in front of the south end zone facility.UGA$!logo

University of Georgia: While Northwestern and IU may offer one brick campaign opportunity, the University of Georgia offers four different campaigns in four different places around campus. Here the donors can pick where they would like the bricks engraved, whether it is at fabled Sanford Stadium, the Softball/Soccer complex, or the Men’s and Women’s Tennis center. All sizes are 4×8 and cost $150 to install. Bricks are engraved twice a year in August and Feburary, except at Sanford Stadium, which is done once per year.

These programs are an excellent way for the athletics department to continue to fundraise for facilities once they are built. Donors also enjoy finding their bricks and knowing that they have left their mark on the institution through their charitable gifts.

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nsulogoAmidst the economic struggles that gave university annual funds fits during the past year, one university experienced record setting success. In northwest Louisiana, the Victory Fund at Northwestern State University showed improvements in nearly every measurable category during the 2009-2009 fiscal year. This success begs the question: what did they do to defeat the poor economy?

According to their recent press release, the Victory Fund at Northwestern State recorded record numbers in total funding secured, Victory Fund gifts, membership, gifts-in-kind, and Board of Directors fundraising. They cited several key reasons for these drastic increases.

First, the department increased efforts to educate their donor base about the contribution levels available and benefits related. In addition, they increased their public relations efforts among their new and established donors. Powerful information initiatives certainly played a part in the increased personal and business donations to the Victory Fund.

The second important piece to the puzzle for Northwestern State was the effort by their board of directors. At the beginning of the year, board members were challenged to raise $100,000 for the department, but exceeded that total by reaching $186,300. The 21 volunteer board members were lead by the university president, Donald Horton.

The final piece to the success of the Victory Fund was the increased marketing and rebranding/logo redesign that the department went through during the year. A new website and improved football and basketball season ticket efforts were essential to the effort.

Northwestern State has shown that a defined strategy and hard work by all parties involved can help development departments succeed (and even set records) in the difficult economic state.

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