NCAA Division III
Marketing Your Program
(Wednesday, June 8 --8:30-9:30 a.m.)
Good morning. We're going to start this session. Our moderator had to leave Marco Island on Sunday due to a death in the family and one of the panelists got in a car accident and never made it down here, so, I'm pinch hitting for the moderator and I wish John and Greg the best of luck. We have a great program for you this morning on fund raising and marketing and promotions. We'll have Greg begin and talk about marketing and then John will talk about fund raising. At the end, depending on how much time we have left, we'll have some fun things to do regarding marketing and promotions.
At this time, I'd like to introduce Greg Lockard. Greg is the AD at Montclair State University, a position he has held for the past seven years. He's a graduate of Springfield College and has his master's degree at Montclair State University .They talk about people who write the book. Greg, literally, wrote the book on marketing and promotions, 101 Promotions that he wrote for the NCAA three consecutive years for their professional development seminars. It's a pleasure for us to have Greg here today to talk about promotions and marketing on the Division III level.
Thanks, Tim, and thank you. The thing about this in my mind is timing. The book is a good example of it. We were at the right place at the right time and had a neat idea. We can't say that we really wrote the book, but it's a collection of great ideas. It's a good tool for everybody. If you're interested in it, I can get you connected with Host and get you a copy.
I'm pleased to be here for a lot of reasons. I'm surprised to see a lot of people here, but it's a good topic and I think Division III is turning the corner in a lot of ways. Groups like NACMA and NAADD don't really talk to many Division III people. There are a lot of good programs and I'll describe mine here today. Coming your way, is a copy of our package. There are some in the back of the room and if you don't have one, please pick one up.
I often advertise that we'll have a giveaway at the end of the discussion. We'll do that today even though I didn't advertise it. John Adarns has a ball cap that he will pass around and you put your business card in it. You'll have to stay until the end to receive the giveaway. Also, coming around is our marketing package from Montclair. Marketing people share everything and it's the best. Later on, 1'11 talk to you about that and the little piece about letting everyone else know what you need because it usually works where several people have things that you need. We've borrowed things from other institutions and they've been gracious enough to pass it on. We'll save questions for the end and do the raffle at the end.
Does everyone have a copy of the packet? It's something that we deliver to our sponsors. You're not going to see the colors and you won't see the size. We simply start from the top and pullout the YIP sponsors. There's a gold, silver and bronze. In the back, we describe a little more about the "what else" section. This doesn't get upgraded often because it costs a lot of money to print it. We did trade that out, so it didn't cost us money, but it's a big trade out for us.
We just had our name changed to Montclair State University which is exciting for all us on campus. So, we need to reprint everything now and you're actually seeing an old packet. But, again, this is it. This was put together because we need revenue and this has been very good. We are trying to make our events a more exciting on-campus activity first and off- campus after that. The on-campus part is assisted because we often trade out and have giveaways and promotions on campus and try to get students out and make it a fun event. Part of our promotions and giveaways come from this package. Again, we trade out to get sponsors involved and to make it a more exciting event.
The packages were generally set up to generate revenue and we've been fairly successful with that. You've probably seen a lot of these. We've taken programs from other institutions, some of them are huge in number. Ours is a $3,000 package. We think that's fairly accurate for us. We've done well with that. This is basically a guideline. We get them to be our corporate sponsors and hope they will buy it. If not, we can pick and choose and create packages. Recently, we had someone buy into two bronze packages. They wanted to buy into it with more money than one package outlines.
The golf outing is run by itself. Hole sponsorships are still new for us. We're trying to get more into this. Promotional announcements are another area we've been successful with. We do that throughout the games. Game tickets were the fIrst place we started. We had sponsors print their names or coupons on the back of our tickets. We have certainly added that to
our package. Special receptions we felt would work, but it hasn't been as successful as I would have liked. We do have people buying into that concept. It's basically a reception during a football game. We've had as many as two at one game and I envision as many as six or eight lining every comer of the end zone. We're still building on that.
The game program announcements has been an on-going thing at our site. We have someone come in to sell our advertisements in our programs. It's something we can't do in house. The biggest challenge for us was building the staff. It's easy for two ofus because I'm the one who sat with our Sill who is a very bright person and is interested in moving in this direction. We began the program and started selling it. It's difficult when it begins to multiply because when you add in the special events, it becomes a phenomenal selling job. We've been good at creating a staff to sell it. That is why we hire a consultant from outside to sell the ads. I've just put together a package to give us a team and a true front person to run this operation. I think we've done a nice job.
We haven't done much with interns. We have allocated a graduate assistant to this area and that's been helpful. I need to know how people work effectively with interns so that I can work effectively with them. There are a lot of people out there that are hungry. This is an unbelievable field. If any of you have been involved with the NACMA program this weekend, you know that it's an exciting group. I would urge you to get involved with that.
I won't go through each item in this packet. But, I hope you will at your convenience. In the back where it says, "What else", outlines additional information for you. Are there any questions before I go on?
I'll explain a little about the other pieces of our program. We have a lot of special events and we try to promote those as individual programs and make a big deal out of each one. We're coming out this year with a full calendar of our events. We want to do a better job of promoting all of our events, including our Hall of Fame Banquet. Other special events this year will include a scholarship dinner. It's for graduate scholarships and it's been a nice program. We have three golf tournaments this year too. We have a lot of alumni dinners. These are just some of our special events and we put them on our calendar since they are very important to our campus.
We do a lot of promotional events such as family nights at our football and basketball games. We've had scout nights and food drives, etc., and they've been successful. The next piece for us is what we call the Hawk Club, which will have four different components. It will have corporate sponsorships and they can buy into in different ways. We'll have a parents' piece, which we want to cultivate in a better fashion and, certainly, alumni are a big piece of our program. We're interested
in doing a better job with each of these. We also want to include the friends in our community to come and watch our games and become a part of our campus. Those are the four groups that will make up the Hawk Club.
A new venture for us is the licensing program. I went to a licensing seminar this year and have started the program. It's really been a challenge for us to get this thing going. The institution does not have a licensing program, so we're starting it. We will receive all of the income from this. We generated some money from the bookstore. We will work with vendors the same way we work with the people in our bookstore to get this going. I have a need to hear from any of you who have a licensing program which is working. I want to share your thoughts.
That's our package. We've narrowed it down to that and at least we have the structure in place in whatever form it is. As you can imagine, it takes some staff to do this. I'm not going to get a full-time staff person to do that. We know we're generating enough revenue already that we could fund a full-time staff person, but we're also using that income that we're generating for other things and we're not willing to give that up.
Thank you, Greg. Has everyone had a chance to put their card in the hat? To handle the fund raising side of the ledger, we have John Schael. John is currently the director of athletics at Washington University , where he has been for the past 17 years. He's a graduate of Miami University, both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree. He's been on the NCAA Council and we're very happy to have John with us today to talk about fund raising.
Thank you, Tim. Certainly, it's a pleasure to be here today. I have a different way of raising funds. It was back in 1981, I went to the chancellor and asked if I could have a chance to establish a fund raising organization. At that time, he told me that's not the mission of the athletic department, nor is it the charge of the athletic director. Yours is to manage and operate the athletic programs that exist on Washington University's campus. I couldn't agree with him more. I still had that desire because, like you, our reach always exceeds our capabilities. I waited for awhile and approached the subject again. At that time, I was told by the alumni development director that it will never work in Division III. There's no way you're going to be able to raise funds. You don't have premiums to give away, nobody is fighting to sit on the 50-yard line at the Bears' football games. That really wasn't my purpose.
My purpose was to rekindle the spirit among the alumni to generate support and benefit the student-athletes who are participating in our programs. Finally, I was given the go ahead. That was after a nine-year effort. That's okay. I can persevere. I've been there for 17 years and I'm willing to wait nine years if I'm going to have a chance to establish a fund raising organization.
I look at our entire program as a partnership for success. If you envision a star with its five points, the number one point would be with the university and the university's administration. The second point would be the parents who make the sacrifices in order to allow their children to attend Washington University. The third point would be the student-athletes themselves. That's why we exist. We're here to serve them. The fourth point would be with the coaches and the athletic administration. If you're going to be successful, you have to have the right people and the right chemistry within your own department to work and serve as role models for the young people associated with your programs. The fifth point for us, in terms of a partnership for success, has to do with the W Club. The W Club is the name of our fund raising organization.
The first question you need to ask is, why raise funds? I'm sure that the environment on your campus isn't much different than that of everybody else in Division III. The federal and state governments are cutting back, fewer dollars are available for research, fewer dollars are available for financial aid. The cost of tuition and fees is going up faster than the salaries of the parents of our children, so therefore, universities have to dip into their endowments. The cost of health insurance is going up, as are retirement benefits, etc. All of these costs continue to escalate, so there are fewer dollars for extracurricular programming and athletics is just one of those particular programs. What are you doing to do? You can sit back and say, isn't it terrible. We had a budget cut two years ago and we have another one this year. Where's it all going? Well, I went to one of the NACDA administrative meetings and it was a management seminar. They said there are three kinds of athletic directors, those who watch what happens, those who ask what happens and those who make things happen. I try to be in that third category .I wanted to make some things happen and wanted to prepare for the future.
Once again, you have to be able to answer that question, do you want to raise funds? It's not part of my job description and it never will be. It's not an expectation that is placed on me by the university and it never will be. I have no established ceiling or threshold that I have to generate in the way of fund raising and it never will be. Because if that ever happens in Division III, I don't really want to be a part of it to be very honest with you. That's not my job. I'm not a fund raiser. What I am is committed to providing a positive environment for the young people who participate in our programs. I want to support the coaches so I can keep good people associated with our department. But, I'm not the alumni and development office. I'm just a small little guy at the west end of the campus trying to do my part to stimulate and motivate people to become more involved in Washington University's athletic programs. You have to ask yourself that question. Do I want to raise funds? Do you want to supplement your existing budgets. I'm sure we're all here this morning because you want to do that and you want to do it in a painless way. I think I have an answer for you.
The next question you have to ask is, how do I get started? Where do I go? The number one thing is to formulate a plan. You have to have a vision, you need a purpose as to why you want to establish an organization. The next thing is to understand how the alumni and development on your campus is organized. How does it interface with the rest of the university and how do you perceive the athletic department fits within that structure.
The next is to be aware of the services that are provided and that are available to other departments and/or to other schools within the university setting. At Washington University, so I don't confuse you, we're organized into five different schools. One example is the school of business. What services are provided to the business school or other departments within the university setting? For example, phonathons. Would I have access to phonathons where I do not get charged for that particular service? Do they have volunteers that are going to help? Will they provide assistance with mailing and mailing lists? How about writers? I'm not a very good writer myself. A lot of ideas put down in the brochure are done by
professionals. Publications assistance is another service.
You have to understand the tenninology on your campus. For example, restricted funds vs. unrestricted. Which of
those two is most valuable? If you need $20,000 in your program and somebody comes along wanting to make a donation of $20,000 for the sport of football, that's pretty restrictive. That's not going to get you where you want to go. What we look for and what we value is unrestricted funds because you can move them anywhere and put them where they're going to do the most good. So, understand the tenninology on your campus. Restricted vs. unrestricted gifts, matching gifts and endowments, how do they work? What kind of interest can you generate off your endowment. It varies.
Talk about challenge gifts. Once again, we're only five years old and we had our first challenge gift three years ago for $10,000. The second one was for $25,000 and now we have a new one for this year for $50,000. We have to match those funds. That's okay, that's a great challenge for the Alumni Development Office. That's their job and I don't think they've ever failed in terms of matching a challenge gift. We're in good shape there.
Then, you want to set up a time when you can meet with your alumni development director. That's key and when you go in, you want to be humble. You don't know how you're going to be perceived. Sometimes they look at you as though you're going to raid additional funds that should be going to academic areas. Or, here we go with athletics again because people take five minutes every morning to take a look at the sports page. Even your own alumni development offices have those opinions. But, you want to talk to that individual and talk about your goals and your aspirations. Always approach it by being the needy and not the greedy. You have a need and you have a program that you want to maintain at a high level. Another thing to do when meeting with this director is to ask for assistance in terms of planning development priorities and implementation of those plans. People will buy into an idea if you ask them for help. Don't just ask them to tell you, ask them for their help.
Don't be surprised if you go to that development director and your request to establish an organization is turned down. Just don't lose faith in yourself. Realize that what you want to do is nothing different than what is done in the rest of the institution. If you're a professor, you want the best math class, if you're the dean of school business, you want to have the best school of business and if you're a director of athletics, you want the best athletic department that you can. This should be your motivation, so don't get discouraged. Once again, it took me nine years to get where I am.
There are potential risks involved with fund raising, but those potential risks only occur if you get out of line. That's exactly what happens. If greed starts to set in or you start to raid other donors or you step out of line in terms of complying with the university's policies, rules and regulations, you're going to get hammered. You're going to create a situation where they're not going to trust you and whoever succeeds you in your position won't have the opportunity because they'll remember. So, once again, you've got to stay within the mainstream of the institution itself.
Fund raising in Division III should be a labor of love. It shouldn't be an expectation. As time goes by, it takes more and more of your time, but that's okay because you're going to have more and more success as you move along.
What happens if you've been given approval? Now where do you go? Now, you have to put something together. I have four points. The fIrst thing was to create a mission statement. I worked with the Alumni Development Office and the mission statement was very simple: "to form an athletic alumni club open to all alumni and friends at Washington University interested in supporting and advancing athletics in an academic environment. The club shall operate in conjunction with existing alumni giving clubs; and it's primary focus is to foster fund raising efforts and develop major gift potential of a supplementary nature of all sports sponsored by the university as well as to foster alumni involvement and spirit for the athletic programs." Everyone of our 17 programs will benefit through the W Club. Now, if somebody comes along and wants to make a contribution just for football, tennis or golf, that's ok. We'll take that. We won't discourage that, but we try to encourage people to give in a general way, so everybody will benefit. The alumni are placing trust in you and the coaches are placing trust in you and the student-athletes want to benefit. The student-athletes are aware of what happens within your own athletic programs. Perceptions are very strong.
So, we established four goals. Establish a leadership forum for the club comprised of alumni, defme the name and membership levels. Under that goal, we had to identify three or four candidates and recruit a chair person for this club that we were going to formulate. We created a club called the W Club. We created an executive committee and we have an executive director, all volunteers and all alumni of Washington University. We then identified alumni in general to represent each of the 18 sports that we have. We have representation across the board and it's worked out very well. We've had the
same chair for the last five years.
We established a consistent means of communication with club members as well as a means of increasing overall visibility of athletics with alumni and friends. We created the brochure that I gave you which was developed by the Alumni Development Office and paid for by them, by the way. It gives you an idea of what we're all about. This has worked out very well. Then, we had to determine what giving levels we wanted to have. We had the Golden W, the Silver Wand the Bronze W. The problem with that wasn't consistent with the language that is used within the institution. They use Century, Fellows and Deans and Elliotts for different giving categories. So, while there were alumni affairs where people came together, one person would say, "I'm a Silver W member." To the other person who was a Century Club member, they had no idea what that was. Everybody knows what a Century Club level member is, so that was key for us. We put our terminology together .
Now, we were rolling. We then created a way to communicate with the alumni through the W Club Newsletter. This is printed in house by our sports information director. At first, we didn't have the insert for the alumni. We were raising money from them, but we weren't telling them about themselves. Everybody wants to hear about themselves. They don't want to just hear about Bear athletics. This goes out four times a year and we try to keep people updated. We also created ways to communicate with them constantly through the phonothons. We call them and talk to them about our contributions. Many times, they'll make a contribution over those phonothons. We also have alumni events off campus, so if we travel and play in Chicago or New York or wherever, we'll try to establish an alumni meeting. That, once again, is done by the Alumni Development Office because they have what they call these council cities. We can just tap into them. They've got the mailing list and they send them out. All I have to do is go. Their may be 20 or 30 alumns and it's great. I'm sure that you have similar service on your campus. This is all done in house and very inexpensive.
We had to establish an identity for the athletic club members beyond what was established by the existing schools and clubs. A lot of people give away premiums, things of that nature and we don't. We have no premiums at all to give. No, their premium is that they are going to make university athletics better today than it was yesterday and better tomorrow than it is today. That's sounds corny, but I live it everyday and I believe it. I can sell that because I believe it. I never try to tell them something that I don't believe, so we don't have any premiums. There are a lot of things that we try to do in terms of identifying and be relatively unique.
We fomlalized fund raising efforts. There are all sorts of services such as mailing lists and phones. We'll have a phonathon one night with about 30 people. We don't get charged for any of those calls and we call starting on the east coast and work our way west. We have students help us with that, as well. We ask for fund raising support. Not one charged to the athletic department. Once again, we're serving a need for them with alumni connections and we're also receiving the benefits of donations. In one night, we can generate up to $6,000 and it makes a big difference for our programs. We do some face-to-face conversations with alumns. Usually, it's initiated by them where they come in and want to talk to you about doing something special for the program, whether it be a fitness center or something for athletics.
I'm going on much too long, so I'm going to cut this. I never have enough time with these things, I get too excited. Ask yourself what should you do with a list of your graduating student-athletes? I hope you keep them and send them to the Alumni Development Office, so they get on the alumni list. Therefore, when you do get into fund raising, you can call them. Who can you talk to? You have to have clearance. On my campus, I can't go to corporations. They are reserved for other higher purposes. If I go to one of the Fortune 500 in St. Louis and I receive $5,000 and come back feeling good, I may end up in the unemployment line because that corporation is worth maybe 5 million dollars to the university for an unrestricted gift. So, you have to be careful in terms ofwho you approach. Get clearances.
What is the coach's role. Should that person be placed in the fund raising role? Probably not. A lot of people are not comfortable fund raising, but we support one another through our efforts. I'm not trying to turn my coaches into fund raisc I would say, be low key. Don't go around bragging about how successful you've been. Remember, be needy not greedy.
budget. Our fund raising is not part of our budget at all, it's in addition to what we have. I never ask a parent. I figure that they're paying a lot of money to send their children to Washington University and I don't feel comfortable. Some parents aI in a position to help and that's okay, we accept that help.
Everybody that makes a contribution receives a letter of thank you from the university and that's important. Don't step out line or you're going to be in big trouble.
John, you had mentioned a plan. Can you give us a quick outline of what a specific plan might be for a Division III fund raising program?
I think, first of all, you have to have a vision and you have to have a commitment to Division III, knowing what it is that you're aIl about and what you're program is aIl about. You have to understand where athletics fits within your particular university setting. When I say a plan, it develops as time goes on, but you have to be prepared when you go in and talk to your alumni development people to answer questions. You have to be able to express what Division III athletics is and if you can't, it wiIl be a problem. You have to be able to convince them that you can be trusted and that you're going to work within a spirit and the rules of the institution.
The key thing is to follow the policies of the university if you're going to be successful. I know that if we step out of line, the W Club will end tomorrow because the deans and the faculty have the control. There's no question about that. I realize that, so we're very careful and want to comply with the university's policies.
One of the things that we face today is a lot of teleconferencing. Everybody is calling us on the phone to change phone companies, to fix a roof or to buy insurance, etc., and it's a source of frustration for some people in this day and age of telemarketing. How do you approach people with this plan? What's the initial approach?
As John said, I really like a soft sell. We do an enonnous amount of cultivation. We always ask friends and alumnus. We approach people who have played in our golf tournaments, etc. We have a don't touch list as John mentioned. If there's a corporation we can't contact and they need to be at some of our events, we simply spin that around and make our development office make the ask. It's usually good for them because that increases their opportunities to bring people in to cultivation events. It's somebody that's a friend of the institution. We haven't done a phonathon, but we are thinking about it.
When you receive the money that comes in, who's in charge of what to do with it?
In our particular situation, the athletic director controls all of our expenditures. We do not have to have clearance from our board. If it's in the best interest of our program to spend $15,000 or $20,000 in any particular area, I can do that without any particular clearance at all. That's how I would like to operate. Many times, an executive committee will wrestle the money away from it's intended purposes and so ways that it can do the best and most for the athletic program, we control our own destiny.
If somebody donates to a particular sport, it goes into their fund raising account. For all other revenue, we generate a budget early in the year. We speak to the coaches for their needs. But, it's completely controlled by us.
We've got the round tables beginning at 9:45. Let's give John and Greg a hand for their time today.