Posts Tagged ‘University of Tennessee’

On many athletics department websites, it is possible to find some type of individual recognition for their athletics donors. Usually in the form of a large list showing which supporters qualified at each level of giving, this type of recognition is simple and likely appreciated. At some universities, however, donor recognition is taken one step further.

At Arizona State University, the ASU Foundation website has a special section reserved for “Donor Stories.” These stories describe the unique giving experiences and lives of some of ASU’s largest donors. In addition to recognizing their gifts, the donor stories offer a personal touch and a detailed account of how a gift can be the result of complete chance or lifelong devotion to the University.

At the University of Tennessee, the “Donor Spotlight” feature on their website is written in a similar fashion to how a “Student-Athlete Spotlight” might be show on the home page. Using an interview format with brief questions and answers, Tennessee’s donors are brought to life, rather than just listed with their dollar amount.

In each of these cases, the university is taking donor recognition to the next level. Showcasing donors in this way not only humanizes their support, but it provides a name and a face to donor prospects that are considering a gift to the university. Imagine if a prospect was considering a gift, reads the donor spotlight, and then recieves a phone call from the donor who was recognized…encouraging the prospect to give. I believe this would be an effective tool of not only encouraging participation amongst donors, but soliciting new gifts. Universities considering making the extra effort to add a personal recognition of donors should look no further for examples than the two institutions listed here.


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Every month Athletics Development Frontier chooses a few facility projects being completed across the nation. This month we have chosen Colorado State, which will open two facilities this month, Arizona, which recently announced a 12-project plan and Tennessee, which has begun the second phase of their baseball stadium renovations.

Colorado State University

A webcam shot of the Academic & Training Center

A webcam shot of the Academic & Training Center

The CSU Rams are celebrating the grand opening of two facilities this month, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and facility tours on September 18. One facility, the Academic & Training Center, will house a state-of-the-art weight room in addition to two levels of academic space, complete with a computer lab, tutoring rooms and staff offices.

The Indoor Practice Facility, the second facility, gives CSU student-athletes an opportunity to train throughout the year without the impact of weather. In addition, it also places CSU on the same level as those in the Mountain West Conference by giving their football team a place to practice indoors while expanding space to hold multiple other sports practices at one time. The facility will contain a field, court, training track and a lobby area.

An ariel shot of the Arizona's Athletics Complex

An ariel shot of the Arizona's Athletics Complex

University of Arizona

In an ambitious announcement, the University of Arizona has recently announced a 12-project plan that will require $378 million over the next 20 years. The plan calls for a building in the north end zone of Arizona’s football stadium and an upgrade to the McKale Center, the school’s basketball arena. In addition to these two projects, the school plans on improving the aquatic center, baseball stadium, track and field stadium, soccer field, as well as the softball stadium. This article gives a good breakdown of all the projects and allocation of funds.

In announcing a 12-project plan, the university is preparing to grow and renovate nearly all their sports facilities over the next 20 years. Announcing the all planned projects enables the university to focus on raising support and decreasing the effect of announcing new capital campaigns every year.

University of Tennessee

The Tennessee Volunteers have recently started the second of four planned expansions with their baseball stadium. This set of renovations allows fans to sit closer to the field in a MVP area with permanent chairback seating. The second phase will also add a new batting cage and improvements to the visitor locker room. The first phase focused primarily on player development, while the third area will include a luxury suite and the fourth will add stands on the left-field line.

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The official logo for the University of Tennes...
Image via Wikipedia

The University of Tennessee has combined their giving efforts into the aptly named Tennessee Fund, which will consolidate their benefits, create greater equality and ease donor confusion. As a program with two separate departments for men’s and women’s sports, the streamlining of the funds into one will ensure greater continuity, both internally and externally.

One interesting part of the new fund is the guaranteed money returning to the academic side of the campus. Historically, the Tennessee Athletics Department has given back to academics every year. Under the new agreement, the department will average a $5 million yearly donation back to campus, further strengthening their relationship.

With the combination of benefit programs, the university will seek to find an equal way to combine priority points and create equity under for all supporters of UT. While change certainly always ruffles some feathers, the department is reaching out to donors first, explaining the changes and providing answers to frequently asked questions within press releases and other publications.

Tennessee has always done an excellent job fundraising, donating funds back to the University nearly every year. With the new efficiencies created internally and the single front presented to the donors, the program will only grow stronger in the years to come.

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