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ASU Renovates Sun Devil Stadium and Launches Public Campaign

February 10, 2014 Facilities, Uncategorized No Comments

ASUArizona State Athletics is starting a public fundraising campaign to raise funds for the renovation of Sun Devil Stadium.  Athletic Development is looking to raise $50 million in private donations, with no tax payer dollars going towards funding the stadium, but rather through new revenue streams. Jeff Pivic, Director of the Sun Devil Club Annual Fund, addresses that the new streams of revenue will include an exciting new “stadium district” of retail stores on the north end of the stadium that will bring in that additional revenue. The renovations will contribute to an enhanced game-day experience for all at the stadium. The one requested area that will be preserved is the Tillman Tunnel that Pat Tillman historically ran through upon entering the stadium on game day.

“To enhance the quality of the game-day experience, fans will enjoy: more legroom, seats and benches with backs, an increased number of restrooms with enhanced quality, a premiere video board and sound system, etc.”, with Pivic also giving details about “new escalators and access for ADA compliance, and an improved concessions experience.” The impact of the renovation will have a positive effect beyond athletics on the community and the local Valley economy. When big games and events happen at the stadium or with the team applications to Arizona State increase. Sun Devil Athletics took feedback through surveys for direction of what the fans and supporters wanted enhanced for the stadium. They don’t want it to lose their identity, but they did want a shade canopy, but that was turned down because of the extensive cost.

Construction will happen during the season, but will not affect the games or seating, which would have a negative effect for fans on game-day which would detract from their experience. Major construction begins in 2015, with some construction and preparation currently underway.

Drew Shaw

SEC: Competitive not only on the field, but off the field as well

January 17, 2014 Facilities No Comments

When it comes to SEC football, you think of top-tier collegiate student-athletes competing on the gridiron every week for that ultimate prize. This competitiveness makes the SEC a powerhouse football conference, but this is not the only aspect it pertains too. Athletic development projects and stadium renovations have taken over the SEC football community in the past year. Ten of the twelve universities have either begun renovations on their football stadiums or have a future plan in place. This displays that an inner athletic department competitive spirit to be the best is occurring on a daily basis. SEC_new_logo

This wave of large development projects began with Texas A&M announcing a $450 million stadium renovation that upon completion will make it the biggest stadium in the SEC by 50 seats over Neyland Stadium at the University of Tennessee. Also, this project is such a large capital campaign the overall facelift of the stadium is spectacular. The history of Texas A&M will not be lost either during this project because 12 seats will always be left empty to commemorate all of the players and fans past and present, as well as the community members who dies in the 1999 horrific bonfire accident.

As the other eleven universities learned of Texas A&M’s campaign, the competitive spirit of the athletic departments kicked in. Falling behind in collegiate sports, when it comes to facilities and opportunities for the student-athletes is the worst nightmare to athletic directors around the nation. LSU has recently decided to expand their South End Zone by adding a new upper deck filled with luxury suites. This will bring their capacity to over 100,000 seats, making Death Valley even tougher for the visiting teams. Like Texas A&M, another SEC newcomer has decided to join the arms race of stadium expansion and renovation. Some of the renovations have already occurred at the University of Missouri with the upgrading of the press box and the “Rock M” was moved closer to the North End Zone. Coming up soon Mizzou plans to add an upper bowl to the east side of the stadium, adding 6,000 seats.

Georgia also recognizing a transformation of their stadium must occur decided to plan a small, but vital development project. For around $3.6 million they will be upgrading premium seating areas, adding display boards for the hearing impaired, updating their ticket-scanning system, and renovating the athletic training room and turf fields. Florida also recognizing their West Concourse needed a facelift renovated their restrooms, concessions, and the exterior look. Auburn also is upgrading a few minor products throughout their stadium in their concessions, replacing their old TVs with 97 flat screen TVs, and lastly updating their ticket scanner system.

The last few athletic development campaigns of Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and the University of Kentucky are opportunities for these universities to exponentially grow their football programs. Ole Miss is about to begin a $105 million North End Zone renovation, where premium seating will be a large part of the new upgrade. Mississippi State is also upgrading their North End Zone in adding 8,815 seats to keep up with their growing fan base and the SEC. Lastly, the University of Kentucky has decided to invest in their football program by their unveiling of a more fan friendly stadium. The $110 million project will actually reduce the capacity by 6,000 seats, but the goal of the project is for a more intimate and modern stadium with great seating opportunities. All of these projects beginning with the $450 million Texas A&M stadium renovation will help each of the SEC universities enhance their school’s image and further advance their football program.

Chris O’Shea

Butler’s Hinkle Campaign Gets Support From the Entire Athletic Department

ButlerUsually for a facility upgrade campaign, the biggest news is the large donation from a very dedicated supporter. However, in this case Butler University has their entire athletic department on board to preserve the Hinkle Fieldhouse and expand it’s use to further benefit the student-athlete. The campaign has raised $16.9 million and each student-athlete on all 19 teams, along with every coach and athletic department members has made a capital gift.

Even though Hinkle Fieldhouse is home to both men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball, it has the support of each team, and will house a new academic center, strength and conditioning room, sports medicine center, and updated locker rooms later this year. The coaches and administration will get new offices and fans will see improved seating and experience during games. The improvements and construction have been going on through 2013 and will finish 2014, though a finishing date has not yet been publicly announced.

Even though the Fieldhouse will soon benefit each member of the Butler Athletics Department, Associate A.D. for Development Ken LaRose described the desire to give back and contribute shows a lot about the people at Butler. It is the message they want to send to their fans, boosters, and community, that the investment in the Hinkle Fieldhouse is worth the contribution and support. The Butler Athletic Department is a great example for what the support of a successful campaign should look like, along with the best place for contributions for a campaign to start.

Drew Shaw

Knight Foundation Releases Database on Athletic and Academic Spending

December 4, 2013 Resources, Uncategorized No Comments

KC logoThe Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics has a database that shows any Division I school’s academic and athletic spending through the past several years. The athletic financial data are based on revenue and expense reports collected by USA TODAY from more than 220 public schools in NCAA’s Division I. The Delta Cost Project then calculated the academic spending received from the U.S. Department of Education. The database can be found at:

The Commission believes that the effective oversight of spending and revenue trends in sports across all NCAA Division I institutions requires the availability of clear, comparable, and complete data. Sustaining intercollegiate athletics requires strategies to improve accountability and transparency in an effort to compare athletic and academic spending. With a database available for public access, other institutions can compare yearly spending trends on students and athletes for each Division I level school. Football Spending even has it’s own tab and  the data is specific to how much spending within football goes towards the average player compared to the scholarship player.

There are graphs available on the About page that show the revenues and expenditures per quarter for athletics for each Division I level. The site also has a feature to show the data comparatively between athletic conferences and data profiles for each school comparable to the conference and the division. The most useful menu option is the Custom Reporting tab, where any data metric can be compared by institution or group, along with adjusting for inflation. Any and all data reports can be shared, printed, and downloaded by any user without a log in.

Drew Shaw


Fundraising Partnerships between Athletics and Academics

The term student-athlete puts it into perspective that the young adults competing on the playing surfaces are not just athletes, they are also students.? This is a crucial message for development offices to communicate, since donors do not often realize their monetary impact via the educational side of the story.

University of Florida Library

University of Florida Library

Partnering with academic units can be a mutually beneficial tactic to show contributors that athletics values education.? The academic unit will benefit from an enhanced involvement in the experience of intercollegiate athletics.? Athletics will benefit from the exposure to a new niche of school supporters and from the positive example in favor of its academic mission. The most logical academic partner is the library.? Although no student-athlete will graduate with a degree from this university unit, this is a building that all student-athletes utilize.? Building a creative campaign with your university?s library can go a long way to delivering your athletic department?s message about academics. A recent example of a library-athletics partnership is the University of Florida.? Florida created the Academic Sports Challenge to support their library by pledging for every touchdown scored during the football season.? The University of Oklahoma is another example of this type of partnership.? Oklahoma created a $500,000 endowment for their library. Other examples of schools donating ticket revenues academic initiatives are Duke University and the University of Tennessee.? In 2011, Duke started donating $1 from each ticket sold to home events to their library.? In 2009, Tennessee began charging $5 for admission to their spring football game generating approximately $150,000.? Athletics used it to support academic initiatives for the university. While the funds donated by an athletics department as a part of this type of partnership may not count toward the totals for your annual fund or most major gifts campaign, it will send an important message to current and potential donors.? It is a communications tactic that heavily emphasizes the student in student-athlete. Ryan O?Connor

Gold Mail Offers a Unique Way to Personalize Donor Communication

Recently, I was forwarded information on a company called Gold Mail which offers an online personalized messaging service. In short, this technology allows you to e-mail your elevator pitch to a prospect via an embed individualized voice and picture presentation. You can see how Gold Mail works by clicking here or for the longer version on how this software can be utilized you can click here.

The cost for Gold Mail is relatively inexpensive. According to the company’s pricing page it is $10 per month for businesses and offers unlimited messages up to 10 minutes in length. It also includes reporting and tracking information to see who viewed your message and which links were clicked. Based on a case study provided by the company a non-profit they showcased saw an increase in donations from e-mail communication by 6%.

The product that Gold Mail offers has potential use within athletics development. Whether it’s for an annual fund drive, marketing spring coaches caravan events, or promoting capital campaigns the personalized voice and picture messaging can make your point easier to convey. This is not something that can be used in all situations, but if done strategically as a follow up to an initial conversation could make an impact on the effectiveness of donor communication.  There is a little bit of a learning curve, but there is a feature where you can make the presentation in Powerpoint and upload it to the Gold Mail server which can make the process easier.

Drew Ossakow

Indiana University Varsity Club to host Speaker Series

Indiana University has recently unveiled a unique benefit for their Varsity Club donors by hosting an event for Big Ten Conference Commissioner Jim Delany as a part of a formal Speaker Series. These unique events are open only to Varsity Club members who can purchase tickets for $15 and can bring a guest.

With conference realignment a hot-button topic, there has been a growing recognition of conference commissioners and the role they play in the industry. In fact, many commissioners are now household names, being scrolled across the bottom of ESPN on a regular basis. Jim Delany is certain to get a large crowd in Bloomington, and will help the Varsity Club provide value to their donors.

In the long run, this is just one event in a series that will help educate donors on college athletics and the surrounding issues. Having industry leaders speak to donor groups provides a unique avenue for learning more about college athletics straight from the people who are making the decisions.

Taylor Wood

Athletic Fundraising, Mobile Technology & Micro-Donations

Text-message fundraising has found tremendous success in recent years through cause marketing efforts and booming media coverage. Whether the Haiti Relief effort that boasted over $20M in donations or the recent 9/11 Memorial remembrance campaign, the scale and response-rate of these fundraising programs is remarkable.


As a natural follow-up from Drew Ossakow’s recent discussion on microphilanthropy, I want to discuss how text-fundraisingcampaigns are being implemented in college athletics and offer several suggestions that might lead to more successful micro-donation efforts.
To begin, we’ll take a look at some examples. It’s not a foreign concept and certainly there are many others that can be added to this list. To name a few:


LSU & The United Way text campaign raised around $9,000 in a single timeout during a ‘09 football game between Auburn & LSU.


Colorado State utilized $5 texts to help support their athletic scholarships.
○ North Carolina Central launched a $10 texting campaign to help cover athletic scholarship expenses.


Boise State University ran a campus-wide campaign for its general scholarship fund, with a main marketing platform being Bronco football games.


In general, these campaigns are relatively low-cost and require minimal effort to launch. As noted by Taylor Wood in an ADF post, text-messaging platforms need volume to be cost-effective, and these services are not suited for all athletic departments. The good news is that technologies continue to improve and prices for these services will continue to decrease. Check out companies like MGive, GivebyCell or Text-to-Pledge for more information. The Mobile Giving Foundation is another interesting group to look into.


The critical question remains, “Do micro-donations make a big enough impact and are they worth the concerted effort and time involvement?” This varies by school, staff size, fan base, and a host of other variables. But with many departments cutting positions and shrinking budgets, perhaps more focus needs to be put on this creative tool. The following are four suggestions to help drive impact for your next text-fundraiser.


1. Focus on niche-sports, special circumstances (such as surprise postseason expenses), memorial funds or other specific causes. -A $10 text campaign towards the general scholarship fund is hardly exciting.


2. Build text campaigns around ‘matching gifts’ from larger donors or sponsors. If certain milestones are reached, gifts will double, triple, etc. -Brings a gaming element to the campaign.


3. Involve athletes. Whether on center court during a timeout, or marketing collateral that promotes the campaign. Student-athletes bring excitement. -Might have to check with the compliance team first!


4. Reward participants who donate. Incorporate a sponsor-driven coupon or promotion as an instant “thank-you” for each donation. -It will increase interest, it is good stewardship and it offers a unique opportunity for a department sponsor.


Overall, I believe text-campaigns can make an impact when done creatively and micro-donations should have a role in the effortsof many athletic departments. Hopefully, this discussion sparked some interest or brought to mind a successful example you’ve seen. Are schools doing enough with mobile donations? Is it becoming oversaturated? Are micro-donations even worth pursuing?


Love to hear your opinion and I’m excited to see technology’s role grow in athletic fundraising!


David Carter


This article was contributed by David Carter, Founder & CEO of Digital Edge Sports, LLC, ( and former Asst. Director of Development for the Ohio Bobcat Club.

Would Microphilanthropy Work in Athletics Development?

Recently I came across an interesting article (warning: its subscription based) on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s website highlighting an interesting fundraising program at Middlebury College.  The school launched MiddSTART, a microphilanthropy initiative aimed at moving the donor/donee relationship beyond a financial transaction and make it more collaborative.  The concept of microphilanthropy has been around for some time.  The fundraising model is based on smaller and more direct interactions between those who give money and those who receive.

This past fall, USAToday did a feature on how this type of giving is changing the non-profit sector.  The article claims that organizations such as Modest Needs, GlobalGiving, and, who focus on microphilanthropy saw exponential growth in charitable giving from 2004-08.  One of the reasons for this large growth can be attributed to technology, social media included, and the ease of access to information about the projects donors are contributing towards.

Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator, says about microphilanthropy, “There’s a lot of evidence that this generation is used to instant access to information.   They want more direct involvement, to be empowered in the process, and to see results more directly.”

MiddSTART, allows alumni, parents and friends to help aid student driven projects at Middlebury College. The way it works is that a completely student organized initiative submits an application through the MiddSTART website.  A panel reviews the applications which are judged on their goals, creative and entrepreneurial merits, and level of organization and commitment shown by the student(s).  Once a project is accepted a unique page is created with its details, goals, and ways to follow the project.  The maximum budget that is allowed for projects is $2,000; however donors can also choose to support a MiddSTART scholarship which is $10,000.

It would be understandably difficult to incorporate microphilanthropy within an athletics annual giving program, especially if the emphasis is on unrestricted donations.  However, in speaking with others who work within athletics development we commonly are challenged with having our lower level donors understand how impactful their support really is.  So I will ask the question is there a way to emulate the success of a MiddSTART type program for athletics?

There is no one answer to this but it is an interesting topic to think about.  Again, integrating the concept of microphilanthropy into athletic giving may prove challenging but there are aspects of it we can utilize.  As we strive to find ways to highlight the value of all donor support, this giving model may provide an opportunity to improve the format of our communication and messaging in order to further enforce the impact of all levels of support.

Drew Ossakow

Memphis has a “Vision for Victory”

Football Indoor Facility Rendering

Recently, Memphis Athletics and the Tiger Scholarship Fund kicked off a campaign aimed at enhancing the school’s football program.  The Vision for Victory campaign will look to raise $10 million which will be used towards the construction of a 74,000 square foot indoor practice facility as well as improvements for part of the Murphy Athletic Complex.  Earlier this summer, the school hosted an event where they publicly announced the campaign which included special guest speakers such as former Tigers running back DeAngelo Williams, Memphis Head Football Coach Larry Porter, and legendary coach Lou Holtz.  The 1,200 Memphis donors, football season ticket holders, and former letterwinners in attendance were able to listen to each of the speakers describe the need to increase support for the football program.  The organizers of the event also showed this excellent case for support video which was created by Running Pony Productions.

As of June 2011, the school has raised over $1.2 million and has assembled an executive campaign committee that will aide in securing donors for this project.  The committee includes Isaac Bruce and DeAngelo Williams, both former Tiger football stars, who will serve as honorary national chairs.  To further publicize Vision for Victory, the Tiger Scholarship Fund created a campaign specific website which includes the Vision brochure, naming opportunities, and progress chart.

This campaign is a clear signal that the school is serious about enhancing the football program and is also a part of the University’s overall $250 million capital campaign.  Once construction is complete, Memphis will have some of the premier practice and completion venues in Conference USA and the country.

Drew Ossakow