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Posts Tagged ‘University of Kentucky’

 

Craft

A picture of the outside of the Joe Craft Center on the campus at the University of Kentucky.

The University of Kentucky has recently announced that they will be building a new building to house their basketball team. The team has spent the past 31 years living in Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge, located across the street from Memorial Coliseum and the new Craft Center.

The Difference Makers, a committed group of UK supporters, donated the money for the new Lodge. Joe Craft, who supplied the $6 million to name the new basketball facility, heads the group and spurred the initiative. The new housing is to be named the Wildcat Coal Lodge to honor the unique tie Kentucky has to the coal industry and its importance in the state’s economy.

There are a couple of unique points in this story. For one, Joe Craft, along with his group of supporters, is once again supplying the school with a large donation to support the basketball program. The repeat donation is a testament to the stewardship practices at the University where the donor still felt connected to the school; even after his naming gift for the new practice facility was made. Additionally, the department was able to leverage their good relationship with Craft to find a group of committed donors willing to further support the program.

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As a 2007 graduate from the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, I have received multiple pieces of e-mail and brochures encouraging me to give back to the school and help shape its future. None of these pieces were very revolutionary, simply brochures, letters, and newsletter e-mails.

A screen shot of the e-mail.

A screen shot of the e-mail.

However, yesterday I received an e-mail from the school with a leading question, “See the one question that will shape our future.” In the e-mail was a link that looked like the picture to the right. Once clicked upon, there was a video of a young man talking about the college and number one reason why people do not give back-they have never been asked. So here he was, asking me to pledge to donate a certain amount and help give back to the school.

When the video was over, I was prompted with a form that already had all of my information filled in, all I had to do is verify it was correct and click which amount I desired, which was $25, $50 or my own amount. Once this was done, I was asked if I would like to be contacted by phone, e-mail or mail.

The video player was put on a separate site customized for the school.

The video player was put on a separate site customized for the school.

This innovative design provides a different approach to the ask. In athletics, the school could leverage its relationship with a popular coach or administrator to make the ask, causing potential donors to feel the connection with the school and program. While this may not be good for soliciting large dollar amounts, it could be very effective for getting people on board. The ease of the process made it very easy from a donor standpoint.

The tool was developed by Pursuant Group, a fundraising agency that specializes in building tools for non-profits and other companies looking to increase their development capabilities.

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lobosFinding a good event to hold in the summer months can be difficult for many universities, especially when the goal of the event is to target female donors and fans. This sometimes overlooked group of donors are now being targeted more than ever, and many schools are now hosting cross-functional football clinics to excite their women donor base.

At the University of New Mexico, the Lobo Women’s Football Clinic is a big hit with donors and football players alike. Women get the opportunity to experience a rules seminar, a strength and conditioning presentation, a uniform and equipment demonstration, Q&A with players and coaches wives, and a presentation from the training staff. The biggest hit of the event is that the “campers” go through real running and passing drills right alongside the players. One twist to the clinic this year was the fashion show put on by local retailers and the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the 2009 uniforms.

Texas Tech adds even more to the Mike Leach/ASCO Women’s Football Clinic by adding a fashion show and dinner to their popular event. In addition to stirring excitement in their female donor base, a portion of the proceeds of the event go to the Marsha Sharp Leadership Circle (MSLC). The MSLC is a fund that gives student-athletes the opportunity to compete in additional tournaments, helps enhance recruitment, and provides scholarship funding to female Texas Tech athletes.

Many other universities hold women’s football clinics, and to be directed to their pages, simply click the links below.

Kentucky, Wake Forest, Austin Peay, Florida

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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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Ole Miss has recently started using a staff blog to increase communication.

Ole Miss has recently started using a staff blog to increase communication.

As blogs become more prevalent, college athletics’ sports information offices are quickly jumping on board. Most schools have some type of official blog where information is provided to fans. Examples of these can be found at the University of Kentucky and University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill.

However, a interesting twist on this set up is currently occurring at the University of Mississippi. While the other blogs are focusing on the action on the field, this blog has been set up to provide insight into the staff and administration behind the scenes. Past topics have ranged from compliance issues to the challenges facing the UMAA Foundation.

This innovation can be used as an increased avenue for communication to donors and others fans of the department. Many times fans wonder what people do within an athletics department. This allows them a little peak behind the scenes while also serving as an extra touch and communication medium. Yet just like the Facebook post earlier, if a blog is to be launched, it will need to be promoted and updated, just as any regular website would.

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