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Aug 13, 2020

Fundraising with Digital Marketing - Part 2

As some fall sports face cancellation this fall, universities are grappling with tough decisions with season ticket inventory and focusing on fundraising opportunities. For many schools, current season ticket holders have several options, including rolling over to the 2021 season, transferring tickets into a donation, or requesting a refund. To promote donations this year, it is crucial to develop student-athlete storytelling and impactful messaging.


“32% of donors said they hadn’t planned to give the last time they visited a charity site but were persuaded to do so.”

Google Consumer Report


Michigan and Oklahoma are two schools leveraging digital marketing to inspire season ticket members to transfer the value of their season ticket to a gift. Catered to providing support and fundamental resources to their student-athletes, both organizations use compelling social content to make this ask.

blog_fundraisingTactics2_Michigan1-body.pngMichigan: Season Ticket Holder Communications, 2-Phase Approach

Phase 1: Proactive Student-Athlete Scholarship Fund Campaign

The University of Michigan launched a two-phased social media campaign targeting all current season ticket members. The first flight focused on the narrative of how Michigan Athletics prepares student-athletes beyond sports - for life. These ads land fans on a page showcasing student-athletics testimonials and scholarly stories. Using digital marketing, Michigan preemptively softens the target with student-athlete messaging while educating fans on more ways to support.


Phase 2: Rollover to Donation Call to Action

blog_fundraisingTactics2_Michigan2-body.pngThe second phase introduces “the ask.” Their second social campaign targets season ticket members with two different creative images and one primary goal - “Make History with Michigan Football.” Communicating the reality and historical challenges of COVID-19, their digital ads give a preview to the benefits & significant impact of donating Per Seat Contributions and Season Tickets this Fall.

The ads click through to a landing page, which illustrates the financial challenges, and delivers clear giving and “transfer your payment” options throughout - making for a seamless customer journey.

Within the first 24 hours, they raised over 1 million dollars in revenue.


Oklahoma: Sooner Relief Fund

Oklahoma launched this week with a targeted social media campaign introducing season ticket holders to the Sooner Relief Fund. Rooted in the message of unity and commitment to excellence, OU inspires all Sooners to come #TogetherAsOne amidst unprecedented financial challenges. The campaign’s video features multiple sports and student-athletes in an impactful way that resonates with fans.

Sooner fans are directed to a Sooner Relief Fund landing page that gives a transparent breakdown of OU Athletic’s budget decreases, benefits of contributing a tax-deductible gift, and direct opportunities to “Give Now.”

Purdue: 'More Than A Game' Marketing Automation Campaign

Purdue is leveraging marketing automation this week to promote their ‘More Than A Game’ campaign. Similar to Oklahoma and Michigan, Purdue is asking current season ticket holders to turn in their 2020 season tickets to help offset a budget shortage that could exceed $50 million. Supporters of the ‘More Than A Game’ campaign will receive additional priority points, and those who contribute $5,000 or more will have their names immortalized on a donor recognition wall outside of Mackey Arena.


For more ideas on donation campaign strategies:

authorPost by Katrina Krzywicki, Digital Marketing Specialist, Paciolan