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Make Jim Pay – Washington State uses radio talent to bolster new campaign

Washington State University, in need of a variety of facility upgrades to service all their sports teams, has launched a new development fund called the Student-Athlete Excellence Account. This new fund is designed to improve the experience for all WSU student-athletes and engage a donor group that includes former student-athletes, alumni, and university friends. The most unique part of this campaign is the use of their color analyst (and former WSU head coach), Jim Walden, for the fund drive.

Jim Walden has been describing Cougar football for the past nine years and, in an attempt to spur giving to the Student-Athlete Excellence Account, is putting up his own money as a matching gift to the athletics department. For each $5 donated to the new account, Jim will donate $1 of his own, up to $100,000. However, if the account grows to $1 million, Jim will donate an additional $100,000 for a total of $200,000 for WSU student-athletes.

The use of radio/television talent in fundraising is not unique, but the degree that Washington State is utilizing their long-time football analyst is impressive. Schools looking for a unique way to engage fans and facilitate new donations should look to WSU for an example of a creative, and perhaps effective, plan. To see the “Make Jim Pay” video and read more about the account, click here.

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Rob Norris

Indiana University Receives $15 million gift, names Basketball Development Center

Cook Hall is currently finishing up its finals stages of construction.

Indiana University recently received a $15 million gift from The Cook Group, the single largest gift in IU Athletics history. As a part of their For the Glory of Old IU campaign, the gift will name the basketball development center after the benefactors-Cook Hall. Located adjacent to Assembly Hall, the facility will house the Men’s and Women’s basketball teams, providing them with valuable practice and training space.

This announcement comes on the heels of an impressive facility expansion project, which included the construction of a new North End Zone Student-Athlete Development Center, located in Memorial Stadium, which houses the football program, a 25,000-square-foot weight room and administrative offices.

With a gift of this size, IU is now taking the proper steps of stewardship, announcing the receipt of the gift and the naming of Cook Hall in numerous press outlets. The release even included a nice quote from Bill Cook, who commented on what the gift meant to him and his wife. Their affinity towards IU makes this gift a win/win situation for both sides.

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Taylor Wood

Baylor wraps up Victory with Integrity Campaign, raises $95 million

Baylor University recently wrapped up a five year campaign dedicated to raising funds for the athletics department, raising $95 million. Over 6,000 loyal donors contributed to Victory with Integrity and the funds renovated or built seven facilities on the Waco campus, including the Highers Athletics Complex and Simpson Athletic and Academic Center.

The $95 million contained $62 million that went to facilities, $25.5 million that went to the annual fund, and $7.5 going to the athletics endowment. This type of concentrated campaign that benefited three major parts of the athletics department allowed Baylor to achieve new heights in their athletics program. Those who contributed have seen the tangible results of the campaign, with an increase in National and Big 12 championships.

These types of campaigns happen through the nation at many universities, but that does not demean the significance they can have on an athletics program. Five years ago, Baylor was a in a predicament with their athletics program. Since the success of this campaign, they have enhanced their program and made a concentrated effort to improve. With the help of their dedicated alumni, fans, and donors, they were able to accomplish their goal.

Taylor Wood

Purdue nearing completion of Mackey Arena Renovation

mackey-hdr-09Purdue University is nearing completion of their Mackey Arena Renovation project. The arena is currently undergoing an expansion that will add a a student-athlete development center, where both training and academic offices will be held. The new arena was announced in May of 2007. Since then, Purdue has done a wonderful job updating the project through a comprehensive web page.

This page includes live web cam shots of the building, several photo gallaries from different phases of the construction, as well as important gift announcements. By having all this information in one place, donors can see the support the arena project has garnered, as well as learn how to make donations on their own.

With the advent of new technologies, a comprehensive website to follow the construction of the building is a great way to keep the public updated on the progress of the build, as well as a tool to raise additional funds. Illinois launched a similar website during their renovation of Memorial Stadium.

By Taylor Wood

Washington Uses Special Campaign to Build Softball Stadium Lights

UWblock_logoThis past year, the Washington Huskys Women’s Softball Team captured the NCAA crown in a thrilling victory over Florida in the national championship. This December, the school announced the installation of lights at the softball field, giving the team a chance to play under the lights, as well as offering the school the ability to host NCAA Championship events.

The installation of lights at softball fields in one facility upgrade many schools are seeking. Washington is now reaping the benefits of their title run while also enhancing their current and future student-athlete’s experience on campus.

The school launched a special fundraising campaign entitled, “Let Their Be Lights,” which enabled the donors to contribute to the cause, which raised the $475,000 needed for the installation. This specialized campaign targeted specifically at an olympic sport shows the ability to raise money for all sports in a department and enhance the experience of a special group of student-athletes.

by Taylor Wood

Boise State gets creative, starts program to buy stock

Making waves across the sports industry, Boise State‘s announcement that they will begin selling “Bronco Stock” has unveiled a new way to raise money for the athletics department. Those who purchase the stock will become members of Boise State Broncos, Inc., receive stock certificates and voting privileges.

200,000 shares of stock will be issued at a $100 price tag, making the new venture capable of raising $20 million dollars to raise money for a new facility for student-athletes. The stock is also transferable to family members or other interested parties. However, the money used to purchase stock will not allow shareholders benefits, such as priority parking or priority seating.

This new system is certainly an innovative approach to raising money for a new building. Instead of focusing on a variety of large gifts, the department is selling many small gifts that will be used to build a new facility. This allows those in the Boise community who may not have the ability to give a the larger levels to be a part of the new building. If a sense of urgency and feeling of involvement can be created with this program, shareholders will feel valued and a part of the Boise State success.

Kentucky receives donation to build new student housing

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.

Sports medicine an untapped area to generate donations

One area of athletics development that is often overlooked is athletic training and sports medicine. These are crucial areas to any athletics department as they help keep student-athletes healthy during their respective schedules and throughout the off-season. There are three main formats for collecting donations for the sports medicine and athletic training areas: adding to a current facility, including it in a new facility, or building its own facility.

Adding to a current facility is a great option for facilitating a smaller gift. Sam Houston State used this platform in accepting the donation of a new ultra sound machine for its athletic training facility. A former athletic trainer, Billy “Doc” Wilson, who worked in that role at Sam Houston State for 20 years, donated the ultra sound machine. Generating donations from former athletic trainers or sports medicine staff provide a new demographic to solicit for donations.

carmelo anthony centerSyracuse University included brand new athletic training rooms when it built its state-of-the-art Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center. The athletic training rooms were an essential addition to the building plans to ensure the physical fitness and health of the basketball team. Along with the training rooms, the Melo Center includes a hydrotherapy room with top-of-the-line pools. Recognizing the benefits of athletic training is essential when building any new facility.

The University of North Carolina took a different route by building the Stallings-Evans Sports Medicine Center. The university is tripling the size of its current athletic training center with the facility. The center will serve the majority of UNC student-athletes while also housing the university’s exercise and sports science classes. The Rams Club is working with the university’s foundation to build the facility, using brick donations as a revenue generating effort for some of the final funds. Partnering with the university’s foundation is an upside of working on an athletic training and sports medicine center that include academic departments in those areas.

Matching Gift Challenge Stimulates Surge in Campaign

November 3, 2009 Capital Campaigns No Comments

cincinnatiThe University of Cincinnati is currently amidst a large, university-wide capital campaign that will benefit many departments, including athletics. For the Bearcats, the Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex is sitting front and center to all donors wishing to support the Athletics Department. The complex, which will consist of two fields, one 100 yards in length and the other being 50 yards, will support the football and women’s lacrosse programs, among others. As planned, the facility will get an inflatable “bubble” each winter to allow for indoor practices in the chilly Cincinnati weather.

What was unexpected, however, is a recent set of events that kept the facility campaign on track and at the forefront of donor minds. In late September, Bearcat supporter Larry Sheakley, the CEO of the Sheakley Group, initiated a $1 million matching gift challenge to support the campaign. In impressive fashion, the UC support system was able to match Mr. Sheakley’s gift in just two short weeks.

This display of fundraising brings an interesting strategy into light. Instead of merely accepting a large gift from a donor such as Mr. Sheakley, why shouldn’t other universities propose the gift “challenge” with their top-tier supporters. Not only does a challenge such as this receive media attention, it can also re-invigorate a capital funds drive.

Matching Gift Challenge Stimulates Surge in Campaign

cincinnatiThe University of Cincinnati is currently amidst a large, university-wide capital campaign that will benefit many departments, including athletics. For the Bearcats, the Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex is sitting front and center to all donors wishing to support the Athletics Department. The complex, which will consist of two fields, one 100 yards in length and the other being 50 yards, will support the football and women’s lacrosse programs, among others. As planned, the facility will get an inflatable “bubble” each winter to allow for indoor practices in the chilly Cincinnati weather.

What was unexpected, however, is a recent set of events that kept the facility campaign on track and at the forefront of donor minds. In late September, Bearcat supporter Larry Sheakley, the CEO of the Sheakley Group, initiated a $1 million matching gift challenge to support the campaign. In impressive fashion, the UC support system was able to match Mr. Sheakley’s gift in just two short weeks.

This display of fundraising brings an interesting strategy into light. Instead of merely accepting  a large gift from a donor such as Mr. Sheakley, why shouldn’t other universities propose the gift “challenge” with their top-tier supporters. Not only does a challenge such as this receive media attention, it can also re-invigorate a capital funds drive.

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