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Posts Tagged ‘University of Oregon’

uo_logoIn an unusual series of events taking place over the last few weeks, the University of Oregon Athletics Department and (specifically) head football coach Chip Kelly have generated sizable goodwill capital. After a disappointing loss at Boise State to begin the season, one Oregon alumni and fan wrote the head coach to request a refund for the fans travel expenses from Portland to Boise. In a surprising response, the coach wrote the fan a check for the $439, which was later returned with a thank you note from the fan.

When coaches, especially those in high profile positions, reach out to alumni and donors in an unexpected way, the donors are typically impressed. After all, donor/coach interaction is the main reason so many coaches participate in fundraising events such as banquets and golf tournaments. However, one must wonder what the potential effects of Coach Kelly’s response may be to Oregon and other programs across the nation. Will enabling fans/donors such as this only elicit more complaints such as this in the future? In addition, how might this effect the development office at Oregon, and how might it change their relationship with this donor?

Time will tell if the coach’s response to the complaint will generate mass goodwill, or just more letters to the football offices. In either case, this gesture has certianly brought some positive PR to the Oregon Football team, and has made at least one fan a supporter of Coach Kelly for life.

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Oregon Ducks

Image via Wikipedia

The University of Oregon is taking an interactive and innovative approach to handling the reseating that will occur during their move to the Matthew Knight Arena. The athletics department has recently launched this site to help educate their donors on the giving levels necessary to obtain certain seats.

The site, which has been designed with a sleek and modern appearance, allows donors to see what donation level will be required to sit in a certain area of the new arena. The Duck Athletic Fund has tied giving levels to certain seats and the website enables donors to see what their view of the court would be from a seating level.

The Duck Athletic Fund is taking a proactive approach to their move to the new arena, reaching out and educating donors a full year before the new venue will open. This will allow donors to give to the facility as well as the Duck Athletic Fund at their desired levels to obtain the seating in their preferred area. The site will also work well in generating buzz about the facility with their weekly picture updates and webcam.

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Twitter is now the #3 social networking site in the US

Twitter is now the #3 social networking site in the US

Twitter. By now everyone has heard of the website that is taking the social networking world by storm. On April 8th, Athletics Development Frontier commented on how universities can utilize social networking sites, primarily Facebook, to increase awareness of athletics to their donors and fans. Twitter, which is now ranked as the third most-visited social networking site in the US, is gaining momentum in this fast-moving industry.

Dozens of athletic departments now use Twitter as another avenue to reach out to their fans and keep “followers” (as Twitter calls fans on the site) up to date on happenings within the department. Just like Facebook, Twitter enables departments to stay in the forefront of their donors minds by providing short updates to their Twitter page. Also, it is free for both the athletic departments and followers to join this growing network.

It is clear that with each passing year athletics donors are becoming more tech savvy and more inclined to spend time online. In an effort to reach out to younger alumni and potential donors, opening a Twitter account will target the younger demographic.

So, should a development officer support the use of Twitter by their department? Athletics Development Frontier says, “yes.” As a free medium of communication, the only cost to the department would be the time of a dedicated employee to post to the site. Since posts can only be a maximum of 140 characters, very little time is necessary and could be handled by a department intern.

However, before opening a Twitter account, check out what some other universities are doing.  The University of Washington Twitter page would be a good place to start. With 2,357 followers, the Husky page has a larger than average following for an athletics page. They include links to other Husky sites, such as their Facebook account and YouTube page. Like other Twitter pages, UW posts several times a day. Unlike other pages, however, their posts are not just scoring updates from their games currently in action. UW includes polls, links to news articles, links to facility updates, and other noteworthy information to further engage their fans.

It is clear that Twitter is here to stay, and development departments that get the jump on this new medium of communication will increase the flow of information to their donors and fans. Updates on giving year deadlines, ticketing information, priority point rewards, and upcoming events are all simple ways to promote the development department through Twitter.  

Click on the following links to be taken to a number of other athletics twitter pages: Oklahoma UniversityUniversity of OregonWake Forest,  RutgersUniversity of Arizona, Appalachian StateUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

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