Hokie Club Letter.

So this fall after my kids are settled into their new school and we as a family are settled into our new town I want to write a letter to Whit, Hokie Club leader Bill Lansden, and other admins about ways we think the Hokie Club could be improved. I'd like this thread to be multi directional.
1) ideas on how to improve something
2) issues you see but don't know how to improve.
3) help making this letter look professional (I'm really bad at this part)

Also if you have Hokie Club questions please ask. I or others would be happy to answer.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

Comments

This is more of an FAQ than what you're asking for above, but I would consider marketing the answer as an improvement.

Is there a way to donate to the scholarship fund and opt out of ticket benefits while still maintaining giving status for other things like event invitations, etc? (yes, this is a new tax code related question I would like answered by Dec 31). Can I just not buy tickets? Is it that simple?

I don't have to take this abuse from you, I've got hundreds of people dying to abuse me.

An issue I see having cousins that moved to Richmond that are in the Hokie Club up there...

The Tidewater seems to be an area where the alumni for the Hokie club seems to be disengaged.

This is an observation after seeing how Richmond operates - wondering if others have noticed this?

No idea what the issue could be - I would imagine tidewater has a large alumni population.

I say look at what Clemson does.....change Clemson stuff to VT stuff....execute

It wasn't super long ago where they were nothing. Even when they had CJ Spiller and the other guy we still beat them. Then they hired Dabo and still were mediocre....then started winning but losing the big games....then kept winning and starting to win big games....continued winning...dominating big games.....continued winning routinely in the conversation about the National Championship appearing twice in back to back years an winning it once.

If you don't want to recruit clowns, don't run a clown show.

"I want to punch people from UVA right in the neck." - Colin Cowherd

So few things: one that doesn't really help. Two Clemson has had more engagement from both alumni and non alum fans for a long time. I live in sc People are either Clemson or USC fans. In VA IF people are college football fans they don't even divide among just in state schools. Clemson offers fewer overall sports and has more money coming in to cover those fewer sports so that isn't an option for Whit and Tech. Just saying "do what they do" doesn't really help in the long run.
What are some examples of things they do you would like to see The Hokie Club do that IPTAY does?

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Then use NC State as a model.

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

That's not the point I was going for.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

What you say is true, but VT has already raised it's level of engagement, and there is room for more.

I get a LOT more stuff in the mail from VT now than I ever have, and have even gotten a phone calls in the last two years. This is a significant increase, and it does make me think about the program more. Well, that and spending a lot of time on TKP...

and have even gotten a phone calls in the last two years

Honestly, the phone calls turn me off from wanting to donate more. I know that's a "35 and under" thing for most people that are my age or younger, but if you're going to call me about money, it better be because someone died.

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

I've lived in upstate SC for over 25 years. One of the very first things I noticed upon moving here was the many cars and trucks bearing multiple bumper stickers plastered one over the next, all bearing the same meaningless gibberish: "IPTAY", or some such. Folks were so proud of their sticker, they seemingly acquired a new one every year, and just ran 'em all across the bumper or back glass.

Not too long afterwards, I was in a meeting at work, and this nice fellow introduced himself, asked about my background, and commented favorably on my Hokie-ness, because seriously, we VT engineers have done quite nicely in our little corner of the automotive industry. And we're pretty nice people, to boot 😎. My company didn't even recruit Clemson engineers at the time, despite being almost literally in their backyard, except this one guy somehow made it in. But I digress.

Anyway, this nice fellow goes on to self-identify as a Clemson fan. So far so good — I had nothing against Clemson at the time. He then proceeded to invite me to join IPTAY — which turns out to be the fund-raising entity for Clemson athletics — and he was dead serious. His reasoning was, if you (meaning me) can't live near the team you love, then root for the local team (meaning Clemson), and support them financially, because IPTAY events are super-duper fun, it only costs a few bucks to join, and it's a great way to get plugged into your new community. Again, the man was totally serious.

Now here comes the scary part. My new friend was so nice (did I mention he was nice?), and so earnest, and so incredibly sincere in his love for all things Clemson, that I almost, almost considered it, just for a split second. I mean, it's just Clemson, and yay for the home team unless you live in Hooville, right, right? The Kool-aid is strong in these parts, y'all, and these folks know no boundaries.

Now guess what, y'all? This was not an isolated incident! These people are, and have been, downright evangelical about their damn IPTAY since even before Perry Tuttle graced the cover of Sports Illustrated almost four decades ago.

Meanwhile, how many times have I been solicited by the Hokie Club since I graduated back during the Reagan Administration? That's right, the score currently stands at IPTAY - 1 (actually more), Hokie Club - 0. And that's the immortal truth, y'all. That's what we're up against.

By the way, I did finally join the Hokie Club last year, or rather, I started sending them money last year, thanks entirely to TKP and . . . wait for it . . . Hokie Fireman. 😃😃😃. So y'all think about that the next time you're tempted to give him a hard time. 😊 And if I ever hear of a local Hokie Club event, I would happily attend. Thankfully, our local Alumni chapter does a fantastic job of planning events and maintaining a strong social media presence as we not so quietly bide our time, waiting for the Dark Age that began in 2011 to reach its inevitable conclusion.

And y'all can quote me on that $#!%.

"Tajh Boyd over the middle . . . and it's caught for an interception! Michael Cole, lying flat on his back, ARE YOU KIDDING???"

Anecdotally, we've had friends from Kansas, Nebraska, and NC State who have all asked us for Hokie gear at some point or another. "Hey, can you bring me back a shirt if you're going to Blacksburg?" This is after they've joined us for game watching parties, traveled to actual games, or have simply been around enough Hokies that we've adopted them.

If we can engender that kind of passion for Virginia Tech by others it would seem to follow that with the right leadership and organization (top to bottom) it would be like turning on a firehose of money.

For goodness sakes update the website to something that is easier to use and navigate and doesn't look like it was made in the 90s.

#thingsiblamethemvsfor

They could probably have students do it as a senior design project too.

senior design project is an insult. there are kids in middle school and high school now that make websites for fun lol

There were plenty of kids in middle school and high school who made websites for fun 15+ years ago. I know as I was one of them.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Offer CS majors free season tickets and somebody would jump on that in a heartbeat.

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

CS majors don't have a social life to care about free tickets /s

Seriously though, from my time in the department there wasn't really much focus on web development. Mostly systems and software engineering; anybody with those skills pretty much had to learn it on their own, or luck out and have a good professor for one of the few electives in that area.

The companies I've worked for have loved recruiting Hokies but we run into this problem a lot. Good fundamentals but no exposure to modern web and application development. It's kind of understandable though, to keep up with this kind of tech requires working with it every day. No way they can teach that in classes and not be hopelessly out of date.

Are there any schools that your company recruits from that do stay up to date with the times?

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We've had success with some of the bootcamp style programs. They're typically taught by and TA'd by people who currently work in the industry. I don't know of any large universities that keep up with technology well.

I get why we don't, though. Its tough, real tough to keep up on the systems necessary for this. I mean I know my company alone has churned through 4 or 5 different platforms upon which to develop and release code in the 7 or so years I've been employed. Seems like its a constant venture of chasing the shiny object, so I can imagine it would be near impossible to set any kind of 4 year curriculum around it.

The bigger picture there is that far too many companies in this area have way too high an expectation of the skill sets of college graduates. You really need to invest at least 1-2 years of hands on training within the workplace for someone to really have the skills needed for these roles, or at least to get the general baseline of what any given company codes within. Too much variation within the industry.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Is your hokie club homepage different from mine? does this look like the 90's to you?

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I more meant the pages involved with actually making donations, etc.

#thingsiblamethemvsfor

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

I'll try to come up with some concise thoughts (I have a bunch but they're all jumbled in my head right now) but when you're ready, draft it up as a Google Doc and send it to me, I'll be happy to help edit it for style and such.

Thanks Professor.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Rather than send one letter, I'm thinking we should ALL send letters.

But there's nothing wrong with coordinating our thoughts and ideas.

A box of letters, skoal, nudey mags, and twinkies.

-Love TKP

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

Don't forget the Hardee's coupons

All I can contribute is my post from the "Devyn Ford Commitment Details" thread:

"I've seen a lot of great discussions on this topic lately; unfortunately I have zero knowledge on the subject.

You and the few other outspoken TKP members knowledgeable of the alumni associations and Hokie Club should have a serious conversation outside of this website. This small group should consider drafting a direct/condensed email that details problems experienced, perceived deficiencies, and direct comparisons with other successful universities. In the workplace you bring possible solutions when notifying management of problems, so this email should finish with suggested short and long term corrective actions. Then send that email to the appropriate representatives. Send the email to multiple people so that it has a higher likelihood of being read by people willing and able to act. If their email address is made public, they will receive it. Outraged people don't hesitate to contact low level and senior level university representatives, so constructive criticisms and suggested solutions will likely be a welcomed change.

Things like this are okay to do and it is obvious there are problems that need correction. People affected by the situation just need to make the effort and reach out. When the effort is made, seize the opportunity and don't lose your audience to unjustified opinions or overly excessive and lengthy supportive arguments."

Never quote yourself. You can put it italics though if you want for emphasis. Like this...

Join TKPC so that Joe and the gang can keep offering these spiffy font selections to spice up our posts.

Leonard. Duh.

Noted.

The Hokie Club should try and have a larger presence on social media. Most people I know (parents, & grandparents included) get on some form of social media almost everyday. It would be a very easy and effective way to provide more outreach.

If people were constantly hearing about the Hokie Club on a daily basis just through Facebook, they might be that much more encouraged to donate. It's essentially free advertising that is being criminally under-utilized.

The Hokie Club Facebook page has 4.5K 'Likes", and the Tidewater Hokie Club has a whopping 347 'Likes'. That's a problem.

The official Hokie Club FB page should constantly be posting about events the local chapters are hosting. They should post articles, games scores, renovation updates, etc. They should post about all things regarding Hokie Sports. They should also include a handy "Donate Now" link with every post (hopefully to a better website).

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

They should also have official accounts for places like TKP or 247 etc... places where fans are already paying money to go to answer questions, get feedback and ultimately deal with the meltdowns by sliding in with the, "Don't like poor recruiting well we need mo $$$"

I think the biggest/most common issue is their presence. I have only recently started meeting up with one of their regional folks and from what he told me they are really trying to revamp the entire Hokie Club. If they have social media/sports site presence I think it can really do some good to keep the word out

Keep calm, Gobble on

How to make it look professional. Use a letterhead and stationary similar to the one below:

OK, so thanks for the reminder that we've come a long way already.

My system dynamics professor actually preferred comic sans over all other fonts. Every single one of his simulation models used comic sans, and not because it was the default font. He actively changed it each and every time he created a model in front of us.

Steps to improve the Hokie Club:

1. Call and email every alumni at least once per year, requesting personally that they join or increase their contributions. Draft an email and phone script explaining the functions of the Hokie Club, where we stand compared to similar institutions, and what our long term goals are both monetarily and quality wise.
2. Increased presence at all sporting events but especially footballs and basketball games. This could include but not be limited to: commercials during the game, ads near concession areas, Hokie Club member benefits such as a Hokie Club stadium entrance, concessions discounts, apparel discounts, Hokie Club concession area, etc.
3. Improve the website to make it easier to donate
4. Additional ways to donate: PayPal, Bitcoin, whatever
5. Have HokieClub registration drives/payment accepted kiosks/employee operated tables inside and/or outside of football and basketball games
6. Sell HokieClub swag in same manner
7. One-off donation drives using student volunteers or Hokie Club employees at large tailgate areas before games
8. Twice yearly separate progress update emails to all current members thanking them for their donation and where we stand currently (separate from the direct requests for funding)
9. Hokie Club sponsored tailgates and alumni watch parties during away games

Just some thoughts.

Is this where we say bring back stick it in?

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

I would double my Hokie Club donation if it meant bringing back stick in it.

It was a catch!

If I made a funny comment I probably stole it from Reddit.

Wow, at least Stick It In is just innuendo.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

I have limited knowledge of Hokie Club. I donated a little bit of money on Giving Day, but that's it. Everything I know about HC is something I've learned on TKP. This leads me to believe that communication needs to be improved at all levels.

Website:

  • We need to clarify the relationship between Hokie Club and Alumni Club (I now know these are two different organizations, but only from comments on TKP). This should be easily accessible on the HC website.
  • There needs to be a 'How to get involved' tab on the website - As I understand it, Local Hokie Club chapters are run by volunteers?
  • Events need to be up to date on the website (unlike this), including non-hokie club events that are related to VT.

Social Media:

  • I follow VT football, basketball, and athletics accounts. Rarely see any thing about Hokie Club or donating. Hokie Club/Fundraising should work with VT Athletics social media dept
  • Monthly emails during off season, weekly during the season

Offline (phone/mail/in person) outreach:

Twitter me

I've struggled to find updated local events as well and can't figure out how to navigate to the local Hokie Club pages easily. Also I noticed the link for "Donor Support" is broken.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Make sure to mention that Fuente needs to try harder to close the deal on big time recruits. /s

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

A key thing for me...

I am not a part of the Hokie Club. I didn't go to VT, but my family has fairly deep roots there. I was headed there and decided on a different path in life, so I ended up in seminary instead.

To be honest, its a bit awkward (even though our family is a multi-generational Hokie family) trying to join when you aren't an alum. So, here's my suggestion (BTW, I hope to join here in 2018)...

As per above, look at Clemson. We lived in the Greenville area from 1997-2001 and I saw IPTAY bumper stickers and Tee-shirts EVERYWHERE. It was a cool thing to be a part of. And most of the people I knew who were part of IPTAY never attended Clemson.

First of all, knowing that such a thing exists is half the battle. Get this stinking thing off the ground and market the heck out of it. Make people who never attended VT feel welcome.

Secondly, there needs to be an easy "on ramp" and constant communication/marketing. People are generally going to be engaged in whatever most grabs their attention. Creating an IPTAY (or whatever the heck we call it) would be a fantastic idea!

Is it football season yet?

It's simple, but I like the bumper sticker comment. If everyone was driving around Virginia with a Hokie Club sticker on their car, I think people would want to be a part of that and make sure they had a sticker on their car too. I know there are some stickers out there, but I rarely see them. It would be nice if folks perception was that a lot of people are involved in HC and they needed to be too.

Maybe what I am trying to say is that a little bit of peer pressure/FOMO applied in a constructive manner could go a long ways.

Every Hokie Club member gets window stickers every year.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Maybe folks don't like design enough to put on car? Or is there just that few members?

Or maybe a cultural change is needed where ppl place them on car and treat them like a badge of pride?

It just has always beffuddled me how much VT stuff I see on cars every day and rarely any of it is Hokie Club. Not sure what the root cause behind that is but could be worth exploring.

They could try some type of contest similar to the Sonoco bumper sticker giveaway. If the extremely low chance of winning free fuel can convince people to put a horrible Sonoco bumper sticker on their car I'd imagine Hokie Club supporters might be willing to display the sticker for a chance at some type of prize. You could even incorporate social media and have people take pictures of their vehicles with the sticker and submit it with a #drivefor25 or whatever slogan they want to promote.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

They sent out some great car magnets two years ago and I do get window stickers. Have one on my office window right now. What do you think would be the best way to reach out to non-alumni? Current alumni are in a database, hard to find out who out there is a fan and wants to join. I like the kiosks and advertisements at games, but that only reaches the people who come to BBurg.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

I'll reach out to a few of my Clemson friends down in that area to see how they reach out. I'm sure its super easy these days with social media being as much of an influence as it is.

For example: If I saw a Hokie Club add come through my FB/Twitter/Instagram feed inviting non-alum Hokie fans to join with a link that took me to a page with a welcome, some instructions, and a list of benefits, that would be a good place to start.

Is it football season yet?

Per the Clemson comment above, I do think we need to take some of this on ourselves as well. I have plenty of friends who are into Hokie football who aren't in the Hokie Club. I doubt I'm the only one. If the culture of Clemson's athletic group does really include proselytizing that heavily, we could step this up ourselves as well. Remind people, push people.

Short story, the main reason that I'm in the Hokie Club is because of a friend's dad. He is a big Hokie Club guy, he got me and my wife extra basketball tickets pretty fairly regularly when we still lived in Bburg (just extras that his friends weren't going to use). One day he handed us two tickets and a Hokie Club application with the lowest rate already checked and our names filled out. It wasn't expensive, seemed like a good thing to do, so we just did it. While I definitely agree that outreach from HCHQ would help, we can't absolve ourselves from this entirely.

Maybe its time to take the kid gloves off when it comes to dealing with the fans. Do we want to be a national power or do we want to be a regional also-ran? I ask that, because we currently are a regional also-ran and yet we keep approaching everything publicly like "oh, all is fine, just a little more money and everything will be golden"

Everything is not golden

Everything is not fine

If we want to contend for and win National Championships, something must dramatically change in the coming months and years or we must come to grips with the fact that we are happy with never legitimately contending, knowing 1999 was as good as it will ever get for the program. If that is where we want to be, fine, keep doing what we're doing, its working out well. We'll win 8 or 9 games a year, contend for a divisional title, be a nice stepping stone win for Clemson, FSU, and Miami whenever we play them on the big stage, and make a bowl. If that's not where we want to be, then its time we cut the bullshit and make it very clear to everyone just how far behind everyone else we are financially and make it very clear that we cannot expect results until the gap is closed. And I'm talking beat every alumnus and HC member over the head with it with constant calls, mailings and emails until things get better.

And its not just football, basketball is quickly going to hit a ceiling, and wrestling already hit it. The sports we think we're closer than ever to getting to where we want to be only shows just how far we have to go.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

I just want to beat Florida State in September, and be a credible threat to Clemson, Miami, and FSU every year.

If it means winning a national championship once in a while, I'm OK with that. If that means I get calls from the Hokie Club every year, let's do that.

I respectfully disagree with this sentiment. No, we are not a national power or brand, and yes, we'd like to be. Progress is incremental, and while we are not there yet, I do think Whit is driving the car in the correct direction.

Twitter me

Not sure I agree about the branding. Any P-5 school is a national brand. Any team making it into the Top 25 or the NCAA tournament is a national brand.

There are levels, but getting nationally televised games helps with branding.

I agree that we're going the right direction.

Not sure I agree about the branding. Any P-5 school is a national brand. Any team making it into the Top 25 or the NCAA tournament is a national brand.

I disagree. How many college football fans on the west coast could name our QB? How many could name the lead scorer on our basketball team? Hell, I've talked college football with random people who say "Beamer stepped down recently, who's your coach these days?"

That stuff doesn't happen with OSU, Michigan, Clemson, Florida, Texas, UK/KU bball, etc. There are maybe 15-20 national brands, and we are not one.

Twitter me

So I named a way to determine a national brand, and you named one. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

The test I'd have used would be "can the fan correctly identify what team the logo stands for", or "can you tell me which conference they belong to?", not "can you name their current QB". Can you name the current quarterback for all of the teams you mentioned? Their high scorer in basketball last year? I know I can't, and I also know that the average person on the street couldn't. If you're going to ask non-sports fans about it, they probably can't answer your questions.

Avid sports fans will certainly have heard of us, no matter what part of the country they live in. Non sports fans, probably not. I would argue that our sports teams are a lot better recognized than they were 30 years ago, and I'm going to go ahead and call that a "win" as far as athletics go.

Maybe the better way to argue your point is "Is your program nationally relevant"? Then you're down to the handful of programs you want to discuss, and you could easily make the argument against including VT. Alabama doesn't lie awake at night wondering if they'll be able to beat us this year in the playoffs. My friends at Ohio State are very aware of Michigan and Alabama, but not so aware of VT.

That's fair. One thing I think about is how much the media talks about us. I listen to about 5 different college football podcasts, and we only get talked about every once a while (side note - the national media all thinks JJ is amazing, maybe we should lighten up over here). Schools like USC, Texas, Clemson, Tennessee, Bama, Mich, etc are talked about every week or every other week, regardless of record. To me that's the definition of a national brand. But I see where you are coming from.

Twitter me

The most helpful way I've thought of to assess the state of a CFB brand is to ask: "Does your school have a massive contingent of bandwagon fans across the country with no connection to the school?"

I grew up in a place far away from any prominent football programs, and the in-state programs were among the worst in the country. I remember my friends in high school that liked college football all adopted schools like Oklahoma, Texas, and Ohio State (one became a die hard TCU fan, but he's kind of an outlier). And incidentally, during basketball season everyone loved Duke.

Almost no one who doesn't have a connection to the area or school starts watching college football and says "I want to be a Virginia Tech Hokie fan" (but those that do are awesome and we love you). That is the difference between the haves and the have-nots. Our brand just doesn't have that kind of pull, and I'm sure how to change that, or convinced that it even can be changed.

Not the bagman VT deserves, but the bagman VT needs right now.

The way to change that is to win.

Casual fans want a team to support in the playoffs/championship games.

People who don't know anything about the Kentucky Derby or horse racing suddenly pull for a horse on race day. Casual fans need a team to pull for at the Super Bowl party.

Notre Dame has a big following because at one time, they won games. (Later, they just won TV contracts)

Yes, but the only way to win playoff and championship games is to start beating out the well-established programs with national household brand recognition for recruits and matching, or at least closing the gap in talent and depth. There is a strong vicious/virtuous cycle dynamic at play, and I don't see how we break it.

Not the bagman VT deserves, but the bagman VT needs right now.

If it were easy, everybody would do it.

My friends at Ohio State are very aware of Michigan and Alabama, but not so aware of VT

Then they didn't pay very close attention to their last championship season...

Bacon strips &
bacon strips &
bacon strips &
bacon strips

Oh, VT got their attention.

It's just that they'd have been a LOT more impressed if VT hadn't gone on to squander that attention by losing 6 of their next 9 games to such football powerhouses as ECU and Pitt. And special mention for that double overtime loss to Wake Forest after the 0-0 tie in regulation, which helped replace that picture you posted with this one in their collective mindset:

I'd have loved if it had played out differently, but it is what it is. That season was a missed opportunity. In like a lion, out like a lamb that was lucky to make it to a bowl game that year.

Touche

Bacon strips &
bacon strips &
bacon strips &
bacon strips

Things may be moving for us and they might be improving, but the ones above us are increasing their funding by a more rapid rate than we are and we are still falling further behind while improving.

If you can't tell we are still falling behind while looking around to the spending elsewhere I'm not sure what to say...

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

What you're saying is essentially like opening an Arby's and then going apeshit on your customers after two years because you still aren't doing as much business as the McDonald's next door.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Yeah but if your stated public goal is to be the undisputed #1 fast food joint in the area, you don't advertise "mission accomplished, we're almost there!" for finally installing a drive through lane if the joint across the street is busy installing a VIP lounge with complementary champagne bottle service offered with every order to go with their already offered complementary car wash and detailing.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Yeah but if your stated public goal is to be the undisputed #1 fast food joint in the area, you don't advertise "mission accomplished, we're almost there!"

Is anyone proclaiming mission accomplished? I think most fans believe us to be a top 25-40 program/brand, which is reasonable IMO. Am I out of touch with our fan base, or is top 40 too optimistic?

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Comment Score: -2

So I guess the whole "Dont downvote an opinion" thing is just completely thrown out the window on TKP from now on, huh?

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

No it's not, but the "complain about downvotes" post was thrown out a long time ago

I offset you. However talking about downvotes could be considered noise, so I may be fair game now.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

Things may be moving for us and they might be improving, but the ones above us are increasing their funding by a more rapid rate than we are

Is that true? What's the source for that?

I thought our growth rate was improving.

What if the hokie club was free to join. Incentives are nearly non-existent until minimum donations are met, but you would have direct connections to potential donors. It would sort of be like a step in the door. Money will flow after the ice is broken.

Edit: at the spring game this year I bought my effect t-shirt from a kiosk in the hokie village with an iPad. It should be just as simple to join and/or donate to the HC. At the very least, setup a free sign-up to get on a mailing list or something.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

If someone can't fork out $100, they can't be a member. I'm sort of good with that, as membership has it's privileges. Giving students or recent grads a break in cost seems right.

I'm OK with putting people on a mailing list that gets news, advertises products and games, and solicits donations, though.

I would love to have more information sent out or easily available that explains the purpose of the Hokie Club and illustrates where the money goes. When I talk to people in my alumni association chapter, most don't know what the Hokie Club does.

I would also really like to see an increase in benefits for those of us that are 6+ hours away and are unlikely to use our Hokie Club points for season tickets. Could there be some sort of accumulation of points that would enable me to have a better shot at games that may be in my area (i.e. the ND game last year).

One idea is that instead of accumulating points to reach tiers, you would be buying/receiving points and they would accumulate in an account. You get so many points per dollar of donation or so many points each year for consecutive years of membership & season ticket purchases. Each season you could select a number of points to burn toward seating priority, almost like an auction. So say there is a year that I know I really want seats I could use up all my points and in years where life events would prevent me from heading to games I could use half my points and roll a few over. HC members in Pennsylvania could accumulate points for years and burn them all to make sure they can get tickets through the university for the game at Penn St. We will call this the Hokie Club Timeshare model.

I kicked an idea about access to live game streaming for HC members (including the spring game) which would be another perk for out of towners. I would also love to have the option (if my accumulated points system is not adopted) to either get tickets or free shirt/hat/stickers instead of tickets as basic Hokie swag is hard to find out of VA.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

I would also really like to see an increase in benefits for those of us that are 6+ hours away and are unlikely to use our Hokie Club points for season tickets. Could there be some sort of accumulation of points that would enable me to have a better shot at games that may be in my area (i.e. the ND game last year).

I think the distant Hokie Club members should get something, though that's not why I donate. Still, it does seem that most of the benefits are geared towards local club members. Preference for games near our location would be nice. I did get a magnet a couple of years back, which were nice because only Hokie Club members got them, I believe.

It would certainly help me sell people on the idea of joining. Right now my pitch is purely to people's fandom and goodness of their heart. Being able to list buying tickets as reason #4 to join would be amazing.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Well, to be fair, there is a related benefit already. Hokie Club members can apply for tickets to away games and have priority subject to availability and their overall Hokie Club member status. That's an incentive of sorts, but behind members who are local and get other benefits. So the odds of getting tickets to a hyped game would still likely be lower than season ticket holders.

Still, you can list that among the benefits, as it's not available to non-Hokie Club members. Also works for post-season games. In the past, the seat locations weren't that great, but I think that has improved to some degree.

You are right, but I doubt many of the 6+ hour people are willing to up their donation in the hope that Tech schedules a game near them soon. I know I put in for ND tickets through the club and didn't have a chance in hell with all the big time donors getting to gobble up 10 tickets each. I get appeasing the big donors, but it makes convincing average people to join a lot harder when they can easily get muscled out (although I am glad Tech has big donors) of the rare chances they get to put their membership to use. I also donate for reasons other than tickets, but not everyone feels the same way.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

You are absolutely correct.

I think the distant Hokie Club members should get something, though that's not why I donate. Still, it does seem that most of the benefits are geared towards local club members.

Bingo - there's not much of a benefit if you're not a season ticket holder.

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Putting a kid through college, away game tickets to sporting events, attend Hokie Club annual meeting, there are benefits just not ones people really think or care about.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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The first one is the only benefit you mentioned that applies to people in my area. Away game tickets are almost impossible to get as there are only ever a few and high up members tend to suck them all up. This is why I think a spendable points system would help as I could save points up to actually compete with the high donors to go to away games near me. Right now I donate the minimum because I want to help, and just go to stub hub for tickets. I quit trying to get away game seats through the HC. The Hokie Club annual meeting is often far from me as well, hardly a benefit.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

I'm fairly low in the Hokie Club around 8k I've gotten bowl game tickets every year I've been a member.m, ACCCG tickets against Clemson etc.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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I think the demand for the games you mention is much much lower than the away games at ND, Oh St, Penn St, would have been for Mich. I am 95% sure non-Hokie Club members had an easy time finding bowl tickets and ACCCG tickets.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Yes but it's still a "perk" of being in the Hokie Club. Tech doesn't control how many and where they are located tickets from other teams venues.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Putting a kid through college, away game tickets to sporting events, attend Hokie Club annual meeting,

  • What does putting a kid through college have to do with Hokie club? is this another benefit I'm not aware of?
  • Regarding away games - definitely a perk, but it sounds like (from other comments on TKP) away game tickets are really difficult to get unless you are a 'big time' donor.
  • What do you get out of Hokie Club meeting? It sounds cool, but if I'm donating hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars, this better be a fucking great meeting.

there are benefits just not ones people really think or care about.

What good are the benefits if people don't care about them?

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Your contribution to HC is a donation at the end of the day. You're helping supporting athletes by paying for their scholarships, supporting capital expenditures, and services that keep our athletics competitive.

Any 'benefits' you receive should be viewed as just that, an added benefit or perk, not quid pro quo.

I hear what you're saying, but that's not how most people think. I'm not saying that every donation needs a gift associated with it, but there should be some reward for repeated donations and years of membership other than earning better seats to home games.

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So ive read through once, I don't have time tonight, but I can answer a few of the questions or concerns tomorrow. Some things people have asked for the Hokie Club already does though.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

here's a suggestion:

why the FUCK is this not tied to the Spring Game?
https://www.alumni.vt.edu/events/2018/06/beerfestival.html

this is in June. JUNE!! .... this epitomizes the ineptitude of VT alumni services.

This may already be raising money for the academic side which is fine. How about doubling up at the Spring Game, adding to that a turkey cook-off (categories being: Legs, Sausages/Burgers and Chili) and ramp up the family activities. Split the profits to both sides. Done and done.

This is like watching Star Wars movies. Why is it so hard to figure this shit out?

Has anyone been to this? Egbert, does your brewery participate?

I don't think it is hard to figure out. I think the alumni services know, but the leadership, creativity, and willingness to work of the current HokieClub leadership in many chapters is just as stagnant as the program has been lately. Most of them want the program to be better, but they are perfectly content with having the same 40-70 people showing up for events, taking the best seats up front for the bigger events, auctioning off the same helmets or packages, and generally making anyone new who walks in feel like the guy who runs the tilt-a-whirl at the county fair. Frankly, I bypass them and donate directly to the scholarship fund and operations budget because my dollars via the HokieClub itself will serve as an endorsement of the status quo. And frankly, there is zero networking value in attending their events for me outside of getting to speak with a coach.

As for the alumni services, start leveraging the HokieClubs in a different way. Think outside the box. For example, if Hokieclubs have events tied in with non-football games that big time recruits are visiting, coordinate members to sit together in a section, and direct them to chant the recruits name. Slip some fatheads of the recruit into the section. You would assume that those folks care enough about the program to see it upgraded. Let them in on making the recruit feel special.

And, many folks need to accept that the data shows that VT will never have the revenue that bluebloods generate because, unlike those blueblood schools, there is a much smaller, much less devoted "subway alumni" for VT than those other schools (subway alumni defined as non-alumni who are big fans and donate to support the program.) That happens because most of the more affluent areas of Virginia have very transient populations, and the population centers closer to the program are less affluent and compete for attention with other programs in the same geographic footprint (for example, I would imagine that in the counties that line the VA/TN border, more non-alumni donations flow to the Vols than VT.)

Ultimately, this program has to win through player development and the lunchpail. And that is much harder to do now when scouting is so much further advanced than it was when Beamer built the model in the early 90s. I don't know how much more growth can happen unless alumni who were not vested in the program as students suddenly find a love for the games that they didn't have in college and expendable dollars that they feel will create joy ROI for them by donating.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

You get "subway alumni" by consistently winning high profile nationally televised games against "blue-blood" programs and being fun to watch while you do it. And you don't win those games without signing more high profile recruits.

Player development and lunchpail might be good for 8-10 wins and an occasional loss in the ACCCG or NYD bowl game. If you're somebody whose interest is peaked by that then more power to you. But until recruiting reaches approaches the top-15 level, I think this plateau is what VT football looks like.

"Subway alumni" might be a chicken/egg debate but the plateau is undeniable. As is my waning interest in college football.

**EDIT: And by "consistently" I mean at least half the time.

I was a beer pourer (best way to do these things in my opinion) the first two years. It basically felt like a smaller version of BrewDo, hosted on campus. If they did this for the Spring Game, they'd have to do it in a pretty big area, like the location that BrewDo currently hosts theirs at out on Innovation Drive.

Are the tiers cumulative or renewed annually? Like is it possible for the every day middle class worker to eventually obtain supreme tier or only appealing to high rollers that can contribute major bucks annually? If theres not a cmulstive placement system you could miss out on lower to middle class donors who reap only minimal rewards.

Both. There is an annual giving and lifetime giving tiers.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Hmmm I was trying to figure it out and was not as easy to locate for me with hokie club (I could just be a newb).
With the "iron duke" for example they have cumulative donations listed at the bottom of the same chart which allows you to tier up. Is it the same idea for hokie club?

From someone who used to sell ice cream cones - try small revenue amounts in large quantities.

Strongly promote to graduating students that they join the HC at $5 per month directly debited from their bank account - they will never miss it - with a built-in 10% annual increase. Maybe tie it to a promotion with student season tickets.

By the time they are 30, they're giving over $100/yr and twenty years out are approaching $400/yr. If we get 2,000 graduates per year to join, the total annual giving is about $1M after about six years, $7M after twenty, and a whopping $53M per year in 40 years after the program begins. If they stick with the program, they will become entrenched donors providing a significant revenue stream with low cost of acquisition.

Sure, you are going to have alumni drop out of the program, but you can also get some of those that stay to increase donations. Hit every donor up annually with a request to bump up their giving amount, plus take advantage of every big win or other significant VT event by reaching out immediately afterward for a one-time additional donation: "Click here to keep the train rolling!!!!".

To give the club a sense of meaning, there will need to be members-only events and benefits. These don't have to be all-inclusive cost-wise. People will pay for the beer at a brewfest. Make the invitation to the exclusive event the feel-good take away.

This model could be used to market to non-alumni as well. Hit them up at the ticket office, in the stadium, and over social media. Make it seem inexpensive and EASY.