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Posts Tagged ‘Major Gifts’

The "Melo" Center is scheduled to be completed for this upcoming basketball.

The "Melo" Center is scheduled to be completed for this upcoming basketball season.

Earlier this year, we posted on former student-athletes giving back to their institutions. For the most part, these examples were of players who spent a long time at the school, allowing for a bond to occur with the campus.

Carmelo Anthony, a “one-and-done” basketball player who led Syracuse University to the 2003 NCAA National Championship, has given back a tremendous amount regardless of the time spent on campus. Anthony made a $3 million gift back in 2007 to name a new basketball practice facility.

One interesting quote regarding this story comes from Anthony, when he comments on who asked him for the donation. It wasn’t Director of Athletics Daryl Gross or Head Coach Jim Boeheim, but Boeheim’s wife, Juli, who asked Anthony. He comments, “When Juli first came to me and said ‘my husband doesn’t really want to ask you, but I’m going to ask you. We’re trying to build a facility and do you want to be a part of it?’ I said ‘yes’. Then, she broke it down to me with what was going to be needed…”

This is an excellent example of using the entire program to help cultivate and steward a donor, even to the point of making the ask. Anthony had a great relationship with Boeheim and his wife, and in the end his experience on campus made him willing to give back.

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This past week my class at Ohio University had the privilege of hearing Dr. Donna Lopiano speak on many topics ranging from marketing women’s sports to impact of media on college athletics. Drawing on her past experience as Director of Women’s Athletics for the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Lopiano also gave ten tips for raising money for your organization.

1.) If you ask for advice, you get money; ask for money, you get advice

This premise comes from the logic that your donors are successful people who will appreciate being asked for their opinion. Essentially, they will feel as if the development officer is looking to them for their expertise.

To do this, begin by telling the story of why you need their money, what dream it would fulfill and the positive effects that appeal to the donor. Then ask for their advice on how the dream can become a reality. This will often lead to them either giving more contacts or a monetary donation.

2.) Grow and engage a contact list

The larger the list of contacts or potential donors the better, increasing the probability of successful gifts. The next step is setting up a relationship building event, whether it is a long lunch or a dinner party. During this event, a relationship with a potential donor can begin, where the development officer should be in contact at least twice a month, whether through email, phone call, or hand written note. One nice touch she mentioned was send them an article about your program with a hand written note on the top.

3.) Always think in terms of utilizing a gift to generate more gifts

Dr. Lopiano had a unique way of looking at the asking process. Often times during her asks, she would say she needed 10 people to give $10,000 and ask if the donor knew others who would be willing to give. This causes the donor to think of others, or open their own checkbook to the amount being asked.

4.) Donors give to people with work ethic

A strong work ethic is essential from the outset. Donors, especially for ones who made their own money, know what it takes to be successful. Essentially they are making an investment and want to give their money to people who have the work ethic make the donation worth every penny.

5.) Always focus attention on 20% of your donor population

In Dr. Lopiano’s view, a good development officer will focus on the top 20% of donors who have the ability to impact the program in a major way. This does not mean forgetting about annual giving, but instead having people and strategies to grow that without consuming a large amount of time and energy from the major gifts officers.

6.) Building a circle of influential people

People will know and support your program if there is a solid base of donors who are influential people in the community. In building a culture of success among your donor base, it will become more attractive for other wealthy people to join. This can come through the creation of an advisory board or special events for those who have the ability to impact the program.

7.) Believing and acting in partnership

This partnership stems from the reciprocity that occurs during the donation process. Each donor has their passions and interests in life and by asking what you can do for them, the relationship will only grow stronger. People of wealth believe in efficiency, and in helping them out, you will build a connections that will benefit both parties.

8.) List what is important for a donor

This is the basis for all major gift asks and it involves doing your research. Donors will be interested a wide range of opportunities. Some are interested in the branding of their name, which will involve naming rights gifts. For others, it may be autographed memorabilia, inside access, etc. Bottom line, do your research on your donors.

9.) Mimic the practice of large institutional programs

While your university or college might not have the resources of some of the larger programs, build on the assets that are available. Essentially this revolves around making your events and programs exciting to attend. Whether it is a the new practice facility or perhaps a star player returning to campus, having a draw at an event will increase participation and help you tell your story.

10.) Play all of the multi-media avenues

Use all available channels to get your name and university in the public conscience. This can be through an effective website, writing a column for a local paper, or promoting your program through social networking opportunities. In doing this, the program and your name will be available through many avenues. With the advent of the internet, many donors will google your name before they meet. Having a large amount of hits will increase your profile and their reception of you.

Dr. Donna Lopiano is the former Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Sports Foundation (1992-2007) and was named one of “The 10 Most Powerful Women in Sports” by Fox Sports. The Sporting News has repeatedly listed her as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Sports.” Dr. Lopiano also served for 18 years as the University of Texas at Austin Director of Women’s Athletics and is a past-president of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.

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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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Ryan Diem play on the field and actions off it led him to being named 2008 Outstanding Young Alumnus at NIU.

Ryan Diem play on the field and actions off it led him to being named 2008 Outstanding Young Alumnus at NIU.

Typically a sore spot for most development offices, former student-athlete giving has historically been poor at most schools. This occurs for many reasons. Perhaps the student-athlete did not have the exprience they felt they deserved, perhaps their coach is no longer at the school, or perhaps they haven’t been as successful as they hoped. Yet for most, it comes down to their experience at the university and how they view their time spent on campus.

Recently some headway has been made in former student-athlete gifts. Julius Peppers made a six-figure donation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill earlier this year, earmarking his donation to the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

During this past weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting Ohio State’s campus and listening to various athletics department staff members speak to the my MSA class and answer questions. Pat Chun, Deputy Senior Associate Athletics Director of External Relations, offered some advice on the subject of student-athlete giving:

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