Posts Tagged ‘Northern Illinois University’

LSUAny successful athletics department will be a active member of their community and seek ways to engage fans with events that take place off the athletic field or court. Specifically, donors appreciate efforts made to bring fans together in ways that are family friendly and involve interaction with coaches and players.

Several universities are taking advantage of a unique fall holiday, Halloween, and incorporating it into an event that will please supporters and the community.

LSU Halloween BOOzar: The week before Halloween, LSU is hosting a free trick-or-treat event for families that will provide children and adults the opportunity to meet various LSU athletes. The free event will also allow guests to participate in activities and get player autographs.

Northern Illinois University Husky Halloween Bash: The Bash will take place on Halloween, between the home football and volleyball games at NIU. The event is free to all, and those who come dressed will be granted admission to the night volleyball game as well. Men’s and women’s basketball team members will be handing out candy, and NIU 2009 hall of fame members will also be recognized during the event.

Vanderbilt: Special pre-game activities on Saturday before the home football game against Georgia Tech are sure to guarantee increased children attendance. Trick-or-treating, carnival rides, live music, and autographs from the basketball teams will highlight the events, and guests can bring as much candy as they can carry into the stadium.

These events, while unlikely to bring in a wave of gifts, do provide plenty of goodwill in the community, provide family opportunities to get involved with student-athletes, and bring supporters to campus for reasons other than a sporting event. In the long run, the gifts may come as supporters become to feel more connected to the university and athletics.



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logo_niu1This past weekend at the NACDA convention many schools discussed the difficulties they faced with former student-athletes giving back to the program. Many reason were debated, such as a bad experience, their coach getting fired, and feeling as if they had already given back through their athletic careers.

What this boils down to is a need to get creative with the former student-athlete giving programs. Northern Illinois University had done just that with their intiatives to increase former student-athlete involvement in their Varsity Club.

One great idea was sending a Huskie Letter of Intent. This letter, which appealed to the recipient by asking them to sign a “second” letter of intent with the school, recieved their highest response rate of any mail piece for the year. Within the text, there were highlights of the Varsity Club as well as details on the intiatives for greater participation and the importance of giving back.

In addition to the letter, the Varsity Club sponsored several events throughout the year, including the Hall of Fame dinner, senior awards banquets, and other student-athlete ceremonies. This allowed for greater brand awareness from both former and current student-athletes while costing very little money.

These are just some of the great ideas that have enabled Northern Illinois’ Varsity Club grow in both participants and dollars raised. The school has done a good job of laying a foundation for future success in the soliciting of former student-athletes. Click here for more information.

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John Calipari has been contacting supporters of UK Athletics

John Calipari has been contacting supporters of UK Athletics

For the most part the men’s basketball head coaching carousel has settled down towards the end of this month. Coaches have made their moves to other programs, retired, or been let go. In any case, a movement among the leadership of one of the most visible program in any athletics department will cause grumbling from media, fans and donors.

However, regardless of the circumstances of the change, most donors will be receptive to the new coach should he/she reach out to the base. This can come in the form of e-mails, attending donor functions, or personal phone calls. During this time, the coach can learn about the donors who support the program and begin to build a relationship with key constituents.

This has recently occurred at the University of Kentucky, where John Calipari has been making phone calls to high-end donors and attending donor functions. Doing this has revitalized a fan base that was dissapointed at season end. His ability to entertain has excited not only the fans, but also the people who monetarily support his program.

At Northern Illinois University, Head Football Coach Jerry Kill spent much of his first weeks on the job attending donor functions, eating dinner with key supporters and winning over the fan base. This led to happier donors and an excited fan base before a football was snapped.

So when transition occurs, and if the coach is willing, getting him/her out in front of the fan base will go a long way to making supporters excited to dontate. They will feel like the money they give is going to someone they personally know.

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