Pursuant Pioneers Unique Fundraising Initiative for the University of Oregon's Women's Athletics

Jun 05, 2014, 13:47 ET from Pursuant

DALLAS, June 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Pursuant, a full-service fundraising agency dedicated to helping the world's leading nonprofit organizations, is partnering with the University of Oregon to launch an innovative development program to raise awareness and financial support with a goal of achieving and maintaining broad-based excellence across all women's athletic programs.

With women controlling more than half of the private wealth in the United States, and making 80 percent of all purchases, there is a growing conversation about how to properly engage women in philanthropy. University athletic departments have a unique asset in their female student-athletes. These young women will be the future leaders in our communities, and investing in them is something that both women and men can support.

Development programs focused solely on raising funds for female student-athletes are a rarity in collegiate athletics today. However, the University of Oregon engaged Pursuant to help them create such a program after speaking with Brooke Todare, vice president for client solutions. In addition to Pursuant's industry-leading accomplishments, Todare provides unique fundraising expertise, having previously led a highly successful women's athletics fundraising program for female student-athletes at Arizona State University.

"I was seen as a trusted advisor who had walked the same path they were about to take. At Arizona State, we were just as passionate as the University of Oregon leadership is now about making this program the premier women's fundraising program in the country, a program that will impact the department, student-athletes and donors for many years to come," said Todare.

Janell Bergstrom Cook, director for the Women in Flight program, said, "Women in Flight is focused on elevating all of our women's programs to excellence — competitively and academically. This initiative will help fund the unique student-athlete experience we seek to provide for our female student-athletes at Oregon. Women in Flight also aims to elevate local and national awareness of the University of Oregon's 12 women's sports programs, as well as better connect our donors, fans, and former female student-athletes to the university and athletic department."

Pursuant worked with the University of Oregon to build a complete solution tailored to the distinct needs of the Women in Flight program, including:

  • A case for support to refine messaging and inform marketing efforts
  • Mission and vision statements
  • Collateral materials, both print and online, to create donor awareness and support
  • A launch plan built around a donor event, allowing for direct high-touch donor engagement
  • A new email donor acquisition program supported by a Pursuant-produced video featuring influential former student-athletes, current donors and University of Oregon leadership
  • A strategic plan that goes beyond acquisition to steward the donor relationship and create a sustainable annual fund with opportunities to cultivate major donors

While most giving to college athletic programs is transactional and centered on season-ticket sales, Pursuant geared its strategy, tactics and messaging to a key finding from its analysis of the existing Oregon donor base. The research revealed a large number of donors who are passionate about broad-based academic and athletic excellence — including women's athletics.

"What we've set out to accomplish with Women in Flight is to create a culture that is based on philanthropic gifts versus gifts that are tied to a transaction. The University of Oregon has tremendous female student-athletes, and once the donors are connected and engaged with who they are, they will quickly find that these student-athletes are something to invest in either as a new donor, or as a donor who gives above and beyond what they do with their ticket purchases," said Todare.

Women in Flight will officially launch on June 7 with an event at the University of Oregon, followed by a multi-channel, Pursuant-produced membership campaign featuring emails with custom video messaging linked to a giving form.

Tony Smercina, executive vice president at Pursuant, is pleased with what has already been accomplished and feels optimistic about the long-term benefit to Oregon's women's athletics program. "I am proud of the partnership that has developed between Oregon and the Pursuant team. We came together, discovered an opportunity and devised a very intentional, strategic plan to make sure we communicated the right message to the right people at the right time. The bottom line is that the University of Oregon is creating a new relational and vision-based donor revenue stream that will go on for years."

Pursuant is a fundraising consultancy serving the world's leading nonprofit organizations. We partner with educational institutions, athletic organizations, hospitals and ministries to impact lives through innovative strategies that grow and sustain revenue. We invite you to learn more about Pursuant at www.pursuant.com.

SOURCE Pursuant