Helping sports organization solve integrity, growth, and development challenges

Fund Raising / Revenue Development

Q: What is the meaning of “standard of care” for a youth sport organization?

A:  The definition of “standard of care” for a youth sport organization refers to the degree of attentiveness, caution and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstance of providing such activity would exercise.  There are decades of expert opinions and publication of model policies and practices promulgated by national sport governance organizations that inform those conducting sports programs of their obligations to anticipate and prevent coach sexual abuse and harassment, physical and emotional abuse, bullying by coaches or bullying or hazing by other participants, and coach boun

Seating Priority Points Systems

Seating priority points systems (SPPS) are common mechanisms used across the country by athletics programs to determine ticket purchasing and seat location priorities for collegiate athletics events.  These systems are designed in a manner that creates incentives for ticket buyers to increase donations to the athletics annual fund or major giving programs in order to get a better seat location.   Seats are assigned based on total numbers of points earned and points earned are heavily weighted toward donations.  Learn more about such systems by

Invest in Development Capacity Now - Four Key Steps

During a challenging economic climate is not the time for athletics departments to “pull back” on fundraising efforts because of fear that donors will not be able to give.  Now is the time to do just the opposite.  A bad economic climate gives athletics a new reason to fundraise – the prospect of having to eliminate sports or a reduction in the program’s ability to compete because of funding challenges.  While a large number of people may be reducing their spending, there are always key donors who have the ability to increase their gifts.  Investing in new fundraising staff is really an inv

Ten Tips for Relationship Building

A guest contribution from the President of Imagine Philanthropy...

Whether you are running your own nonprofit, building a sports program or starting a new business, here are my suggested “Top Ten Methods for Success”.  Please note that these are in no particular order although I personally value 1‐4 in people I work with! Success will come sooner when all are done well and consistently.

Q: Do you have a sample capital campaign gift chart?

A:  Key to conceptualizing the execution of any major capital campaign is the adoption of a "gift chart" as a mechanism for goal setting and tracking campaign progress.  For example, the following chart represents the number of gifts from individuals, corporations or foundations at each giving level that must be obtained for a successful $60 million campaign. 

SAMPLE $60 MILLION CAMPAIGN GIFT CHART

Gift         # Gifts Needed     Gift Amount    Total This Category   # Prospects Needed

Q: What are the three characteristics that make up a good fundraiser?

A:  Passion, authenticity and  integrity.  Passion for your program is an essential prerequisite for success.  Being armed with facts that represent the qualities you most value (graduation rates, average team GPA, 100% effort, etc.) and delivering these facts with the energy and enthusiasm that would result in a prospective donor or fan saying, “How can I help?” is the goal.  Authenticity – being exactly who you are, being perceived by others as genuine, without arrogance or feigned interest, is also essential.   People easily detect fakes.  Integrity is all about a commitment to honesty. 

Q: What percent of an athletic director's time should be spent on fundraising?

A:  There are two ways to look at this.  First, your answer might be 100% time because everything an athletic director does should be related to sharing his or her commitment to the brand and selling it to everyone he or she comes into contact with.  If your athletic department staff is 10 or 100, the AD’s responsibility is to motivate every employee to make friends, share contacts and information and motivate others to support the athletics program.  Another way to look at this is to break down the athletics director’s time into segments like fundraising (35%), event management (25%), hiri

Q: Why work to diversify revenue streams? Isn't it better to master one rather than be average among many?

Few non-profit organizations live off the interest of a large endowment or have guaranteed sustainable multiyear revenues from any source. Thus, diversifying revenue streams is all about reducing risk. If the stock market crashes and end of year major gifts try up as a result, how will the organization make up these anticipated but unrealized resources? Engaging in fundraising from multiple types of revenue sources does not imply lack of mastery as a result of diversification. Rather, the organization wants to be skilled at acquiring revenues from all of its sources.