Fundraising and the SU fan base | Syracusefan.com

Fundraising and the SU fan base

Scooch

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The raging success of the #CuseTixForKids campaign has got me to thinking... how can SU's fundraising for athletics be so bad, relative to our peer set?

Keeley's going to raise $44K in less than 4 days. The cause is great, and its exactly the kind of grass roots, small donation approach that the Internet is built to facilitate.

Hell, this site raised $50K for the IPF!

Meanwhile I read here that the overall IPF fundraising has stalled, and that the Melo Center still isn't fully funded. It seems to be a Herculean task to get money for athletics facilities, aside from the very generous big time boosters.

Is the problem our administration? Are they really THAT bad? When a blogger can raise $11K/day it sure seems that way, but I don't know.

Or is it something about the SU fanbase? Are we good with "charity" but don't appreciate the realities of the college sports arms race?

Just seems so strange to me.
 

javadoc

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The raging success of the #CuseTixForKids campaign has got me to thinking... how can SU's fundraising for athletics be so bad, relative to our peer set?

Keeley's going to raise $44K in less than 4 days. The cause is great, and its exactly the kind of grass roots, small donation approach that the Internet is built to facilitate.

Hell, this site raised $50K for the IPF!

Meanwhile I read here that the overall IPF fundraising has stalled, and that the Melo Center still isn't fully funded. It seems to be a Herculean task to get money for athletics facilities, aside from the very generous big time boosters.

Is the problem our administration? Are they really THAT bad? When a blogger can raise $11K/day it sure seems that way, but I don't know.

Or is it something about the SU fanbase? Are we good with "charity" but don't appreciate the realities of the college sports arms race?

Just seems so strange to me.
My money is on this. Easy to understand buying a ticket for a kid who couldn't otherwise go. But for facilities, I bet the prevalent mindset is, "That's your job to build those things and pay for it."
 

OttoinGrotto

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My money is on this. Easy to understand buying a ticket for a kid who couldn't otherwise go. But for facilities, I bet the prevalent mindset is, "That's your job to build those things and pay for it."
Along the same lines - getting a kid ticket feels real. You know when the game will happen. You assume the kid will see the game. It's all close.

The IPF though, I mean, we're aware of it, but what does a donation really mean? When does the thing really happen?

That's why I think sponsoring "stuff" can work. Suppose SU offered me the chance to name a drinking fountain in the IPF or something. Would it be worth it to me to pony up $4k so that I can put a little nameplate on a drinking fountain in the IPF that says "Thickburger" or something like that? Yes, it would.
 

lincolncuse

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javadoc said:
My money is on this. Easy to understand buying a ticket for a kid who couldn't otherwise go. But for facilities, I bet the prevalent mindset is, "That's your job to build those things and pay for it."

I spoke to bees at the BC tailgate because I had the same questions.

I think it's a combination of the majority of the alumni base not giving a crap about football and laziness/incompetence on the athletic department end.
 

Millhouse

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OttoinGrotto said:
Along the same lines - getting a kid ticket feels real. You know when the game will happen. You assume the kid will see the game. It's all close. The IPF though, I mean, we're aware of it, but what does a donation really mean? When does the thing really happen? That's why I think sponsoring "stuff" can work. Suppose SU offered me the chance to name a drinking fountain in the IPF or something. Would it be worth it to me to pony up $4k so that I can put a little nameplate on a drinking fountain in the IPF that says "Thickburger" or something like that? Yes, it would.
They need a kick starter model. Offering the money back if they don't hit whatever goal might make people more likely to take part. Smaller donations are less contingent on the participation of others.

Rahme still needs to do a kick starter for the book he should write
 

Scooch

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I spoke to bees at the BC tailgate because I had the same questions.

I think it's a combination of the majority of the alumni base not giving a crap about football and laziness/incompetence on the athletic department end.

That's an interesting point. SU was a fairly major national player in college football from the mid 1950s into the mid/late 1960s. Basically a ~15 year span of relevance. Then SU was relevant again from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, another ~15 year run. Just seems odd that there could be ~30 years of the football program being good-to-excellent and no one cares enough to throw a few bucks at building stuff.
 

OrangeinBoston

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The raging success of the #CuseTixForKids campaign has got me to thinking... how can SU's fundraising for athletics be so bad, relative to our peer set?

Keeley's going to raise $44K in less than 4 days. The cause is great, and its exactly the kind of grass roots, small donation approach that the Internet is built to facilitate.

Hell, this site raised $50K for the IPF!

Meanwhile I read here that the overall IPF fundraising has stalled, and that the Melo Center still isn't fully funded. It seems to be a Herculean task to get money for athletics facilities, aside from the very generous big time boosters.

Is the problem our administration? Are they really THAT bad? When a blogger can raise $11K/day it sure seems that way, but I don't know.

Or is it something about the SU fanbase? Are we good with "charity" but don't appreciate the realities of the college sports arms race?

Just seems so strange to me.
I thought we went over this a few weeks ago. The IPF isn't stalled. And, where is the evidence that the Melo Center isn't funded? Just message board yak yak yak...
 

lincolncuse

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Scooch said:
That's an interesting point. SU was a fairly major national player in college football from the mid 1950s into the mid/late 1960s. Basically a ~15 year span of relevance. Then SU was relevant again from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, another ~15 year run. Just seems odd that there could be ~30 years of the football program being good-to-excellent and no one cares enough to throw a few bucks at building stuff.

Compare to my alma mater Nebraska. Basketball was a joke when I went there and still is, no one cared, some of the football fans cheer for creighton in the winter, has never won an NCAA tournament game etc. They had no problem fund raising and building a $19 million practice facility for men's and women's hoops in a relatively short period of time (not to mention the city just payed for a new $179 million multi purpose arena).

The SU IPF for football has been talked about for years and appears to finally be under way (let's hope). Very frustrating.
 

DPCuse

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Colgate just recently raised over $25M to build a new hockey arena. I think it boils down to how connected the students feel to the school while attending. Chances are that if they don't attend the games, they probably won't contribute to a new facility after they graduate.
 

Chip

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Or is it something about the SU fanbase? Are we good with "charity" but don't appreciate the realities of the college sports arms race?

I think this nails it. There are certainly a group of SU fans who want to give money to the IPF. But I think there is also a very large contingent that doesn't want to give much, if any, of their money to a souped up facility for college kids. They would probably think the ACC money, or the parking $, or the concessions, or the season ticket $ should cover that stuff. That mentality is not shared by large segments of fans at the football factories.

I'm not going to say whether it's right or wrong. If someone wants to give $25k to cancer research instead of to an indoor football facility for a school they enjoy watching, what sane person tells them they are wrong?

The college football arms race is taking the sport to some borderline ridiculous places. But it's become so accepted now, people don't really stop and think about it. They just donate because they want to win.
 

jekelish

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The AD does not prospect to the alumni base at large, never mind the CuseisLoose types. It's all hunt and peck to find a whale.
Spot on. Even at my low tier D3 level, this is absolutely how it works with athletics departments and colleges in general. They focus on the potentially huge donors more than anything else. Tons of legwork to hopefully guarantee a huge endowment later.
 

anomander

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I think this shows we need the right people doing the fundraising for Syracuse. Gross, Poles, and Gedney are working the big guys, maybe we should hire Keeley for the rest. Maybe this will actually shame them into changing their model? In all seriousness I always felt they need to spend some money to address the problem. Obviously the current plan isn't working all that well. Invest in some people who's job it is to raise money. Work everyone, small, medium, and large sized donations.
 

Hoo's That

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Colgate just recently raised over $25M to build a new hockey arena. I think it boils down to how connected the students feel to the school while attending. Chances are that if they don't attend the games, they probably won't contribute to a new facility after they graduate.

This is becoming a large problem at many schools. Some of it is that more and more schools have a majority of female students. (I always end up going back to this.) 40 years ago UVa was >90% male, now it's 53% female. Some of it is that fewer students participated in athletics when they were young so don't feel any affinity towards the teams. On another message board, Johns Hopkins alums were lamenting how there could be a serious drop-off in alumni support for their lacrosse team in the future because of the increased number of international students. In addition, no one at the this juncture can say what the future of football will be because of the ripple effect of the health concerns. The loss of the football-based revenue stream will also put great stress on college athletics.
 

Millhouse

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Spot on. Even at my low tier D3 level, this is absolutely how it works with athletics departments and colleges in general. They focus on the potentially huge donors more than anything else. Tons of legwork to hopefully guarantee a huge endowment later.
going after whales makes it really hard to evaluate whether anyone is doing a good job or bad job in the years you don't get a whale

some low probability high expected value strategy is fine but it's pretty hard to measure progress and performance
 

OrangePA

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Fans on message boards should not have to help fund an IPF. Just my two cents.


Sorry, but this kind of post part of the problem.

Fans reap the benefit of the infrastructure improvments.

Of course fans should help build.
 

Marsh01

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Sorry, but this kind of post part of the problem.

Fans reap the benefit of the infrastructure improvments.

Of course fans should help build.

You are missing my point.

I donated to the IPF. Was happy too. However it is NOT the fans responsibility to help get this thing funded. Its the athletic director/chancellors responsibility. Stop around and put forth a real effort to get this thing done. There are thousands of big time alumni who make way more money than I do who should be contacted.

If fans want to get involved like we have to add what little we can, then great.
 

Scooch

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Sorry, but this kind of post part of the problem.

Fans reap the benefit of the infrastructure improvments.

Of course fans should help build.

But I think that's the point some are making. If SU alums and a good percentage of CNY locals aren't big SU football fans, then they don't care if the team needs $ for an IPF to be better, right?
 

Scooch

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Colgate just recently raised over $25M to build a new hockey arena. I think it boils down to how connected the students feel to the school while attending. Chances are that if they don't attend the games, they probably won't contribute to a new facility after they graduate.

Another interesting point. Thing is, I know a lot of SU alums and they love the place and feel very connected to it. I'm always amazed at the affection people I meet who are either alums or former CNY residents have for the school and the area (aside from the weather of course).

I get that the team's been mediocre-to-lousy for 10 years, and those recent grads may not have a deep connection to the football team. But anyone who went to SU from, say, 1984 to 2004 saw some good football played on the Hill and undoubtedly went to many games. Those people are all in prime earning years right now.
 

Scooch

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I think this nails it. There are certainly a group of SU fans who want to give money to the IPF. But I think there is also a very large contingent that doesn't want to give much, if any, of their money to a souped up facility for college kids. They would probably think the ACC money, or the parking $, or the concessions, or the season ticket $ should cover that stuff. That mentality is not shared by large segments of fans at the football factories.

I'm not going to say whether it's right or wrong. If someone wants to give $25k to cancer research instead of to an indoor football facility for a school they enjoy watching, what sane person tells them they are wrong?

The college football arms race is taking the sport to some borderline ridiculous places. But it's become so accepted now, people don't really stop and think about it. They just donate because they want to win.

Yep. I hear that from some alums who are incredulous that a school they paid $150,000+ to attend calls and asks for donations. It's a mix of some not understanding the realities of the arms race we find ourselves in, and some understanding the arms race but finding it ludicrous.
 

bnoro

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Along the same lines - getting a kid ticket feels real. You know when the game will happen. You assume the kid will see the game. It's all close.

The IPF though, I mean, we're aware of it, but what does a donation really mean? When does the thing really happen?

That's why I think sponsoring "stuff" can work. Suppose SU offered me the chance to name a drinking fountain in the IPF or something. Would it be worth it to me to pony up $4k so that I can put a little nameplate on a drinking fountain in the IPF that says "Thickburger" or something like that? Yes, it would.
If you ponied up $4mil maybe you could name the IPF the thickburger IPF...
 

shandeezy7

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You are missing my point.

I donated to the IPF. Was happy too. However it is NOT the fans responsibility to help get this thing funded. Its the athletic director/chancellors responsibility. Stop around and put forth a real effort to get this thing done. There are thousands of big time alumni who make way more money than I do who should be contacted.

If fans want to get involved like we have to add what little we can, then great.

As someone who works in higher-ed fundraising, it can be incredibly difficult to access those thousands of alumni who have the capacity to donate. They are difficult to get a hold of, and then when you do get a hold of them, most of them are savvy enough to know why you're calling. For most folks at the major gifts level, it can then take upwards of 2 years of cultivation before you can finally reach the point of making an ask. It can be a very drawn out process and a tough sell to folks.
 

rrlbees

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We are good at the little guy donating when they are asked or know about something. We aren't very good at the big ticket things. We can donate $44 all day long. It's not going to out a debt into an IPF. We need those lead donors who donate 1, 2, $3m.

Sent from my iPhone using Forum Runner
 

Marsh01

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As someone who works in higher-ed fundraising, it can be incredibly difficult to access those thousands of alumni who have the capacity to donate. They are difficult to get a hold of, and then when you do get a hold of them, most of them are savvy enough to know why you're calling. For most folks at the major gifts level, it can then take upwards of 2 years of cultivation before you can finally reach the point of making an ask. It can be a very drawn out process and a tough sell to folks.

I was mostly referring to celebs. How many people have graduated from SU that are now in hollywood? Start a campaign. I know its not easy but go after the big fish
 

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