Posts Tagged ‘Innovations’

IllinoisIn late April, ADF posted about the trend of athletics departments allowing their donors to choose their own seats for home basketball event during re-seating attempts. We found that universities were getting fantastic feedback from implementing programs such as this. The more choices fans have regarding their game day experience, the happier they will be.

The University of Illinois is taking this concept to the parking lots. In a program called “I Decide Parking,” members of Illinois’ annual fund (the I FUND) are given the opportunity to choose the game day parking lot that best fits their needs. Different lots tend to have different experiences, such as tailgating and parties, that cater to specific segments of donors. The lots in close proximity to the stadium will be more attractive to those who do not want to walk as far to the game. Just like ticket selection, the lots will be available on a priority point basis, and the parking spots will be guaranteed for anyone who donates to the I FUND.

Thus far the program seems to be a success, with over half the qualified members signed up for “their” lot in the first week. Illinois is leading the way with the trend towards improving customer service at the collegiate level, and more universities will certainly be following in their footsteps.

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Even without a team participating in the championship, events held the night of the big game have been used to create buzz about the sport while also raising money.

An excellent example of such an event will happen on April 6th at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. During the championship game for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the university’s Rutgers Court Club will be hosting an all-you-can-eat filet mignon dinner for $50 a plate. Attendees will have the ability to watch the game on big screens and get added insight into the game from basketball coaches and other athletics department celebrities.

This event is a great example of creating excitement around a championship without a team from the department or area participating. The ability to gain extra touches on fans of the program will enhance the willingness to give back and create buzz about the sport.

Other events could be created around the BCS Championship Game, the College Baseball World Series, and other large sporting events, such as the Super Bowl. Creating a party around the event will be another reason to gather supporters and continue to build a community of donors around the athletics department.

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HASF Kick-Off Event

The HASF uses the kick-off event to create excitement about their annual giving drive.

One innovative way to create excitement for donors are campaign kick off events. For those schools with annual giving years that have designated fund drive dates, one might want to look into hosting an event to have their donors get excited about the giving season.

Northern Illinois University held its second annual campaign kick-off event on February 1st. The event was centered around the beginning of their annual fund campaign and occurs in conjunction with a men’s or women’s basketball game.

The kick-off featured appearances the athletics director and several coaches who stressed the importance of giving back to the program. During this time, donors caught a glimpse of what their donations go towards through the speeches of coaches and select student-athletes.

The event created ample buzz about the Huskie Athletics Scholarship Fund, where donors were able to pick up their donation packets upon entry into the room and enjoy a small meal with friends during the speeches. Additionally, the time served as an avenue to educate donors on the programs and benefits avaliable for supporters of the HASF.

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