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Posts Tagged ‘giving’

cougsAt the University of Houston, the Cougar Athletics Department recently released a new website dedicated completely to the branding of Cougar athletics. The site, PulseofthePride.com, has content dedicated to their student support group, alumni group, links to their facebook and twitter pages, ticket information, and other links all associated with building Cougar awareness.

This unique step in building the brand of an athletics department is a somewhat new tactic. It is hard to find a site dedicated simply to brand-building, especially among non-BCS-conference universities. Perhaps recognizing the potential that their athletics department has in areas like sponsorship and alumni support, this portal will be a key in creating excitement and awareness of Houston Athletics.

This branding effort, ultimately, should also positively impact giving at the University of Houston. Their scholarship fund, called Cougar Pride, is a prominent piece of the new site, and encourages fans to support the education of their 300+ student athletes

Athletics departments who are looking for a new and unique campaign to stimulate giving, support, and sponsorships may consider a directive similar to that of the University of Houston. The new website is only part one of their efforts, but clearly a key aspect in their branding efforts.

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One segment of donors that can be over-looked and under-utilized are a university’s young alumni. Usually caught between school and full-time work, young alumni are often short on extra cash, but still high on enthusiasm for university athletics. It is key to build rapport with these alumni soon after graduation to foster long-term giving relationships. Of course, in these programs, the emphasis is more on participation in annual giving rather than the amount given. Here is a sample of some young alumni giving programs from around the nation:

The Vanderbilt University 2020 Society
is a segment of the Commodore Club that is under the age of 40 that contributes at least $100 to the school’s athletic annual fund. The name comes from the fact that Vandy expects their next generation of athletic donors to come to maturation around the year 2020. The university is encouraging young alums to join by offering discounted football and basketball season tickets for those who have been out of school for five years or less. Learn more about the 2020 Society here.

The University of Virginia Athletics Foundation
is trying something new in 2009 with their young alumni. For each dollar donated by a young alumni (undergraduate degree in the last four years, or graduate degree in the last two years), the Foundation will match the gift made in order to increase the benefits received by the donor. For example, a young alumni who donates $500 dollars would receive the benefits of a $1,000 donation. For more information, visit the UVA Foundation website here.

The Ohio University Bobcat Club
uses a prorated-type approach with their young alumni (undergraduate degree in the last three years). For the 2008-2009 year, depending on graduation year, young alumni could make progressively higher (although still discounted) donations to get credit at the $100 level. For example, a graduate in 2008 had to donate only $25 to be credited at the $100 level, while a 2007 grad had to donate $50. These young alums were then qualified to receive a host of benefits, including: discounted football season tickets, priority seating at football and basketball, Bobcat Club priority points, and the Bobcat Club newsletter. Visit the Bobcat Club young alumni page here.

George Mason University’s Patriot Club
is enticing young alums with the offer of 50 percent off the cost of a basketballs season ticket.  Recent graduates from George Mason who experienced the exhilarating run of the men’s basketball team in the 2006 NCAA Tournament certainly appreciate the opportunity to support their team and the athletic department.  Click here for George Mason’s young alumni page.

Across the board, there are consistencies in young alumni programs:
– Offer discounted or free (see OK State) rates to young alumni to encourage giving.
– Give the young alums access to seats in football or basketball that are better than the general public can purchase.
– Invite young alums to community events to encourage their involvement in the the club or program.
– Include a free t-shirt or hat for making a first-time donation.

To see other young alumni programs, check out these links:

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MSU's New Heated Golfing Range

MSU's new heated driving range

EAST LANSING, MI- Through the beginning of the month there have been several facility openings across the country. Michigan State recently opened a heated driving range facility for use by their men’s and women’s teams and the public. Located on the university’s golf course, Forest Akers, the driving range will be used throughout the year as the heated stalls will allow athletes to see their ball in flight throughout the year. This facility will work in conjunction with The Rearick Golf Complex to provide the student-athletes with year round practice capabilities.

NEW HAVEN, CT- Yale University recently opened the newly renovated Reese Stadium, a facility used for lacrosse and soccer, this past week. This marks the end of a two phase renovation project kickstarted by a naming gift by Jon and Jason Reese in 2006. The second phase was funded by a “Winning Goal” Campaign which called upon former lacrosse and soccer players to make donations ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 to support the program.

Phase I saw the installation of an artificial turf surface and new lights into the stadium. Phase II, which was just recently completed, includes a new entry plaza, press box, team rooms, new and expanded seats and hospitality areas. The entry plaza posts the name of every player to participate in Yale soccer and lacrosse, as well as a special donor plaque area.

For more information concerning this project, please click here.

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This indoor facility is one example of the top notch facilities Nebraska has to offer.

This indoor facility is one example of the top notch facilities Nebraska has to offer.

On the shoulders of the recent $10 million gift from Tom and Mary Hendricks to the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, the school has recently announced that a new practice facility for Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Gymnastics, and Wrestling is now in the works. The new facility, which will provide a convenient and less impacted practice area for each of the teams, is officially called the Devaney Center Improvements Project. In addition to the practice facility, the project will also include repairs to the Bob Devaney Sports Center, updates to the coaching offices, and improvements to the athletic medicine department that is housed in the building.

Mr. Hendricks is a co-founder and Executive Vice President of Tenaska, Inc, a power and energy marketer out of Omaha, Nebraska and a graduate of Nebraska. The $10 million gift is just a part of the estimated $17 million that will be raised in order to complete the renovation, which is scheduled to begin in August of 2010. The completion of the practice facility would be the third on the Nebraska campus. Cook Pavilion, at a cost of nearly $3 million dollars, is an indoor practice facility for the Husker football program and opened in 1989. Hawks Championship Center ($50 million, 2006) is available to all Husker teams and includes a full football field, batting cages, a sand volleyball court, and practice space for countless other teams.

For more information concenering this project, click here or here. For more information on University of Nebraska facilities, click here.

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