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Posts Tagged ‘Varsity Club’

Throughout the country, one of the biggest questions faced on a daily basis is how to get the graduates who received diplomas in May to donate to athletics within the next twelve months. While this segment may not represent the most wealthy, engaging the recent graduates early will enable involvement for a longer period of time, which will eventually lead to more gifts. ADF has posted on this topic before, and has sought out more examples from around the nation due to reader interest.

north-carolina-state-logoNorth Carolina State University, one of the most successful annual giving arms in the nation with over 20,000 members, offers a unique way for young alumni to build up in their giving efforts. Giving increases from complimentary the first year, to $30 the second, $60 the third and $90 the fourth, all while gaining priority points at the lowest level, which will benefit the donor down the road. Additionally, the young alums are given a window decal, a monthly newsletter, and invitations to events. To read more about this program, click here.

Indiana University has a similar model, giving young alumni their first year of membership for free. Upon receipt of their registration, the Varsity Club sends out a donor package that consists of a welcome letter, a window decal, membership card and a license plate with the Varsity Club logo. Perhaps the most interesting part of this deal is the license plate, which if placed on a vehicle, has the ability to increase the club’s branding and awareness among young alums.

Elon University
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In addition to these successful athletics programs, there are also many non-athletics young alumni giving programs. Duke University has over 3,300 young alumni who graduated between the years 1998-2008. Their unique solicitation methods include Young Alumni Development Councils, reunions, and young alumni peer networks. Elon University recently launched a new program to host regional networking opportunities for members of their annual fund.

Many of the young alumni programs from around the fundraising industry all include a few basic tenants: reduced rates, complimentary gifts and networking opportunities.

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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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