Root Cause Analysis of why VT's Fan Base doesn't Donate

Lot's of talk about donations being the issue with where the state of the program is today.

To fix any issue it is essential to get to the root cause of what the problem is.

To quote Albert Einstein:

If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution.

So when performing a root cause analysis, I like to use the 5 why process (doesn't have to stop at 5). But the basic premise is that you ask a question, ask why, answer the question, and ask why again. Rinse and repeat until you cannot go back any further.

First person to answer should ask pose the question Why ?

If you do not like the answer you can pose an alternate answer in the sub thread.

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

Comments

I will start:

Virginia Tech's Fan Base is are not actively donating enough. Why?

What's
Important
Now

It's kind of beating a dead horse, but factoring in the rising cost of attendance and student loan debt plus the general wage stagnation of the last twenty years means newer alumni have a much lower amount of disposable income they could use to donate to the Hokie Club as previous alumni generations.

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

These issues don't seem to be as big of an issue at a place like Clemson. Why?

Clemson offers three fewer varsity sports than the Hokies, ergo, every dollar donated doesn't have to stretch as far.

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Clemson has revitalized their marketing efforts to appeal to the younger demographics and make it easy for them to donate their phone in multiple ways.

Virginia Tech has not done that why?

What's
Important
Now

Virginia Tech has not done that why?

Chicken/egg. Less money = less staff = less resources to make big changes = less money.

Solution: Hokie Club needs to innovate and find a way to produce better results with less expense. I think one way they could do this is by leveraging big data to do a targeted online ad campaign for HC members across Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Twitter me

I looked for sauces but I assume a large number of Clemson alumni remain within 2.5 hour drive from Clemson that can make it back to games. Look at Charlotte, Greenville, Atlanta, and Columbia - 4 major cities that are surely homes to a lot of alumni that could easily day trip back for games.

Compare to VT: Our closest major city is Charlotte. Richmond, VA Beach, and Northern VA - the areas with the largest alumni bases - are all 3+ hour drives.

Why? Geography. Job locations. Where students are from. Where alumni want to live.

Why?

I've always thought that if VT was in a Charlottesville type of location - where it was central to a lot of our alumni bases - we would no longer have a resourcing issue. Location location location.

Piggybacking on the proximity, we don't have a MAJOR newspaper (either print or online) or MAJOR regional network that covers the Hokies. Yes, The Roanoke Times and the Richmond paper cover some, and the Roanoke channels cover, but not like Atlanta, Charlotte, DC, Philly, New York. Blacksburg is in beautiful county, but it's in the middle of nowhere. If you don't actively look for VT info, it's typically not right there.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

Someone get Dan Snyder on the phone!

EDIT:

With the strong relationship with Amazon, we could push to get into the Washington Post.

What's
Important
Now

Here's hoping the Amazon deal has a deep impact on a lot of VT donating avenues.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

The Washington Post does cover Tech, but also UVA and UMD. There are so many fans from different teams in the Northern Virginia area, not sure the Post would devote any more resources. Not sure that the answer is that far away. I think the quality of the posts on TKP are the best out of other Tech related material, at least for sports. We could push to get the brand out and get more TKP Club members.

The Washington Post used to have more coverage for VT and UVa. Then they labeled their college section "Maryland", and now devote most of their college coverage to College Park.

I'd like more coverage out of them, as there are lots of Hokies in their coverage area.

I would hope that would improve, since we are now big partners with them.

What's
Important
Now

I've noticed the same thing. Although because College Park is only about 30 minutes outside of Washington it makes sense why they've shifted to mostly cover the Terrapins. UMD is now the default DC college sports team (a part from Georgetown basketball). If Tech were in, say Fairfax, you'd definitely see an equal coverage between us and UMD. The Amazon HQ2 may change that.

I am the heartbeat of Blacksburg. A fortress built out of stone but made with champions.

And all local Richmond news skews very heavily toward uva. It can be infuriating.

Isn't the obvious solution then to move the entire university to Charlottesville? Is this doable?

VHokie

I just threw up in my mouth, and not a little.

I don't blame you....i threw up when I typed that.

VHokie

Exchanges like this are why I'm so happy I found TKP. Now I just gotta pony up $84 to show my appreciation for this and the great articles!

So the answer you are proposing are that we have not shifted marketing efforts to accurately capture the needs of the new donor base, which will be the largest base of people in the near future.

Why?

What's
Important
Now

I could be wrong but it feels to me like the Hokies Club has always focused on Macro Donors and only recently realized the benefit of micro donations, so they are just now trying to understand how to get the younger donor population engaged....

That, and there isn't a concerted effort to gain engagement in Hampton Roads area, why?

Because we are losing recruiting battles in our own backyard.

Why?

What's
Important
Now

I'm a big fan of when businesses ask if you "would like to round up your total to donate to XX"

It's a more subtle, less invasive way to donate.

I wouldn't mind seeing bookstores, concessions, etc do something similar.

VT Marketing Class of 2009
Current Roanoke-Hokie
Go Hokies!

The number one reason why someone doesn't make a donation is because they aren't asked.

JP

I graduated in 07.

I have not been asked to donate. Admittedly, I also don't have a lot of money that I could put towards VT that I already haven't otherwise put towards other entertainment and lifestyle activities.

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Graduated in 2012, but same. Even the Hokie Club emails just end with "Give Today" or "Pledge Your Support Today" and go directly to the donation page with no real info. Honestly (and maybe they've done this, and I just missed it) a widespread info campaign targeted towards newer grads and current students about how little it costs to be a HC member ($25 for the lowest level) or the fact that you can make an any dollar donation to a specific sport whenever you want would probably give them a bump.

It's only been in the past week or 2 that I've actually found out details about most of this stuff, and even then I still had to do a bit of research to clarify that HC is specifically for the scholarship fund and that the option to give a sport specific donation even exists.

This goes back to marketing efforts. We might be asking, but we aren't providing or asking in a manner that is effective.

What's
Important
Now

...they aren't asked *enough / at the right time(s) and in the appropriate way(s).

This. Any time someone parts with money, they are accepting that this product will bring them more utility that something else they could have purchased.

As it pertains to Hokie Club, I definitely think awareness is an issue, but I think Whit has also failed to communicate the value prop to fans.

Twitter me

Virginia Tech's Fan Base is are not actively donating enough. Why?

My theories:

  1. The fanbase is young, and young people don't donated as much
    On average, US donors over the age of 65 gave more than three times the amount donated by those ages 18-24 and nearly twice as much as donors ages 25-34 (source, see page 4). I imagine* that, because most people who have an emotional connection to the team are younger than 50 (I believe that at earliest, most die hard fans started to become fans in around the '96 season - if the oldest fans were 22 then, they're under 50 now). Simply put - we just don't have as many fans who are in their 'prime giving years' as other schools do.
  2. VT has less 'super rich' donors due to the degrees offered
    I could be wrong, but I imagine* that if you looked at most major non-profit initiatives, the majority of donation dollars come from a very small percentage of 'super wealthy' donors. If you look at people with millions of dollars of disposable income, most have a top MBA, Law, or Medical degree. VT doesn't offer prestigious MBA, Law, or Medical degrees (for now). Engineering a great degree if you want to be upper class, but it doesn't really rocket you into the 1% like the other degrees I mentioned can. We may have a lot of people who can donate 5 figures, but I don't think we have many who donate in the 6-7 figure range.
  3. The Frank Beamer Effect
    Frank Beamer, the only coach who had success at VT, was successful without state of the art facilities, great recruiting, or a large budget. As a result, many VT fans do not believe that huge donations are necessary, and still believe that good coaching and okay recruiting is all that is necessary to win conference titles and be in the national championship discussion.

    In my opinion, Frank was able to find success by exploiting a 'blue ocean.' Due to the changing landscape of college football, that blue ocean no longer exists. However, fans do not acknowledge how much the cfb landscape has changed, thus they do not view donations as 'essential' in order for VT to have the same level of success.

*If I use the word 'imagine' it means I have no evidence to support this claim, but it makes sense to me. Feel free to share evidence that supports or refutes my theory.

Edited for clarity.

Twitter me

Or a combination. I would guess 2&3 together - the richest alumni were in school before we ever got to be good at football. They may not care as much about football. People who have graduated since we got good at football and care more about it may get super rich, they just aren't there yet.

The fanbase is young, and young people don't donated as much
On average, US donors over the age of 65 gave more than three times the amount donated by those ages 18-24 and nearly twice as much as donors ages 25-34 (source, see page 4). I imagine* that, because most people who have an emotional connection to the team are younger than 50 (I believe that at earliest, most die hard fans started to become fans in around the '96 season - if the oldest fans were 22 then, they're under 50 now). Simply put - we just don't have as many fans who are in their 'prime giving years' as other schools do.

Additionally, until the mid 1960s, Virginia Tech was a small military school. Even in 1970, there were only 12,000 students. Enrollment didn't hit 20,000 until 1978, so the base of alumni in the retirement/giving years is still relatively small.

Enrollment by year figures

Texas A&M taps into their strong military fan base, why can't Tech?

What's
Important
Now

Speculating, but I don't think TAMU taps into their military fanbase... I think they get money from their alums in big oil.

Twitter me

I thought about big oil. My thoughts were that there are certainly some overlap between the 2.

What's
Important
Now

Root cause - No oil money.

Corrective Action - Hit up Uncle Jed and get him to shoot up some food in the NRV.

Leonard. Duh.

This is true. I live in Texas. All of the Texas schools as well as Oklahoma schools have alumni with quite a bit of oil money.

Wouldn't the obvious solution be for Blacksburg to secede from the Commonwealth and move the city to Texas, so we can get some of this oil money? Or, alternately, we just need to start drilling for oil. Wouldnt the Drill Field be the best place to start?
Why not?

VHokie

VT & Texas A&M had a similar enrollment profile until around 1978 when VT had 20,000 students and Texas A&M exploded into 30,000 students. Texas A&M now has almost 70,000 students, eclipsing VT's enrollment of 30,000. Also, you can bet the oil money mentioned by others in this thread is a large factor.

Texas A&M enrollment by year

Regarding number 2, I'm pretty sure it's proven that people have a higher affinity to undergrad and most people are not donating to the athletic program of where they got an MBA/Law/MD

all maroon everything

Depends - as someone who's in business school now, a lot of my classmates did their undergrad at a school without a big football team; I could definitely see a lot of them donating to their grad school's athletic department.

But to your point, I wouldn't be surprised if Alabama, OSU, or some other state school had more eventual Lawyers and Doctors than VT. If you're an engineer, you're probably not going back to grad school for Law (unless you want to go into patent work) or Medical school (unless you have a sudden change of heart). If you want to get into law or med school, it honestly makes more sense to get an easy history or biology degree (respectively) from your favorite in-state school and then kill it on your LSAT/MCAT than it does to get an engineering degree.

Twitter me

VT's biggest rise in students (which equals future alums and donors) was from 1995 - present. Most of those people are still in the workforce, having families, maybe paying off loans, etc.

Given that - as that alumni base gets older I think donations will naturally go up as people have the independence to put funds into other interest/hobbies vs. necessities. I live in Pittsburgh and donate, but I'd donate more for season tickets, experiences, etc. if I could attend every game. A job, family, other priorities, etc. aren't conducive to that.

The age of the alumni/donor base is critical - particularly when no Papa John or T. Boone Pickens exists for VT.

"Dick to Hyman? DICK TO HYMAN!" - Guy in Lane Stadium crowd when Richard Johnson hit Josh Hyman on reverse pass in 2004.

Are we really that bad when it comes to donations? WE're 4th in the ACC per Hokie Club (donors as a % of living alumni)

Go Hokies! Beat UVA!

We've certainly improved over the past few years.

This is percentage of alumni who are donors. One school could have Bill gates giving $500M per year and no other donors and they'll be better off than a school that has 10,000 alumni who all give $1.

Maybe, but that would be one empty-looking stadium.

We are actually 7th in percentage and 4th in total donors. Why?

#Let's Go - Hokies

These aren't great metrics. Maybe us being high on these looks good, but all those people could be giving $5 a year. Total amount of donations per year from all donors is what matters because you buy buildings and pay salaries with dollars, not donors.

But the implied question was that we don't engage, participate and donate.

It appears that we may be engaging, but not donating enough.

It maybe because Tech doesn't produce many millionaires?

We also need to remember that Tech has been raising more than a BILLION dollars in campaigns recently. So, maybe the money is going elsewhere other than football?

I read somewhere that the school maybe prioritizing buildings and the AD wants to raise the level of other sports at the expense of football facilities and salaries. True?

Go Hokies! Beat UVA!

I do not believe we have the same culture as Clemson, the SEC schools, etc., where alumni/fans are expected to donate. For many it feels like an option rather than an obligation. Why?

Virginia Tech Class of 2010. Former member of "330 Strong, The Spirit of Tech." I lived in Pritchard when it was all dudes.

In the SEC football is a full fledged fanatical religion with an expectation of a premier ROI in terms of national championships. In the ACC, there are pockets of fanaticism, even among individual fanbases, but the rabid level of SEC fanaticism doesn't permeate the conference as a whole, therefore it doesn't trickle down to the majority of conference members. Fans of the SEC/Clemson schools are expected to donate because the fanaticism is so widespread.

See: Designing Women on Football

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

I think another point to note is that the states of Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina don't have pro sports teams in the state. Kentucky as well, though basketball is king over college football there.

You could say the same about Virginia, but the proximity to DC means a lot of VA natives associate with the District's teams as their own. I guess some folks in SC identify with the NC-based teams, but it's a little different I'd think.

But I think that also goes a long way into why Clemson & South Carolina dominate their state, and even moreso with Auburn/Alabama and Ole Miss/Miss St.

Michigan does not seem to have any issues raising money and we have 3 pro teams here.

Go Hokies! Beat UVA!

Mostly true, except the Panthers are considered to be in both Carolinas. Bank of America Stadium flies both state flags in the stadium and Charlotte is almost on the border between the two. Their training camp is also in Spartanburg. But while Alabamians probably support Atlanta teams and Mississipians support New Orleans teams, you're right.

I am the heartbeat of Blacksburg. A fortress built out of stone but made with champions.

I believe culture and fan expectations are the root cause. That culture seems to go along with schools that have a long championship history. I don't know that winning directly correlates to bigger alumni spending, but I'd imagine it would certainly be easier to drum up spending with a program that regularly vies for championships, or historically, are expected to do so. I wonder (I don't have stats and figures to back this up) if VT simply missed its window to boost alumni spending during our ACC-dominant years and now expectations for VT's dominance have been slipping away. If we can make an ACCCG appearance, and even win it, I would certainly hope that fanbase donation push to go out in full force.

HTHokie93

Because the culture isn't instilled from the moment students step on campus for the first time. Hokie Club donations has been very transactional (donate $X to get Y and Z), and there hasn't been a lot of messaging to change that to an expectation to give to better the program. The problem with trying to instill this culture now, as was pointed out in another topic, is that lots of students are carrying huge debt loads, and asking to change their thinking to donate on top of that will be difficult at best.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

because the culture isn't instilled from the moment before students step on campus for the first time.

FIFY

Bama fans don't just become fans when they step on campus, they grow up as Bama fans. Being a fan of an SEC school is a lot like being a member of a church community - when religious people move somewhere new, their social network often grows from their church; when they need a recommendation for a dentist, a tutor, a coach, when their job searching, when their dating, etc, they go through the Church's network. Being a bama fan is similar; when someone moves to a new city, they seek out bama fans, they join alumni clubs, etc. When those Bama fans have kids, they're raised as Bama fans. They may never attend Bama, hell, they might go to an ivy league school, but their still bama fans.

How did Bama get to this point? I imagine that it's a culmination of a bunch of cultural inflection points across a long period of time.

If you want to learn more about Bama's fan culture (or college football fandom in general) I highly recommend reading Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer by Warren St. John. Probably one of the best College Football Books every written.

Twitter me

You are 1000% correct on this. The last time we played Bama in the Chick Fila season opener, we traveled down to Atlanta in our motor-coach to see the game. In the parking lot there were over 500 RVs in the lot and 17 from VT. I counted at least 20+ $1M motor-coaches all with Alabama plates. They live and breath Alabama football from the day they are born. I am not so sure we will ever reach that level.

So the answer to this is to join the SEC. /s

Sorta.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

we are not SEC...not enough results on the field in the last 8 years

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

This is a symptom of the donation problem.

What's
Important
Now

It's a symptom but also a cause

Recruit Prosim

Chicken and the egg situation.

We as fans can only control one piece so you may as well take action and donate.
Withholding donations because you expect more is redactive

Keep calm, Gobble on

Its a catch-22 for sure. Unfortunately, increasing fan spending is a difficult sell without the success.

HTHokie93

Yeah, but the staff isn't controlling what they can control either. Like, say... the head coach apparently interviews for another job, then subsequently reconsiders, and the only thing you get from said head coach is a weird cryptic tweet complete with a US Tobacco hostage photo.

Give us something, man. Mike Young could lose every game the rest of the year and I'm still going to be on board because I think he's a cool dude.

Leonard. Duh.

Virginia Tech alumni and other potential donors do not prioritize donating to the Hokie Club. Why?

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

They are separate donating efforts and because of this they are siloed. This leading to the same person being asked to donate more than once to the school for different reasons.

Why?

What's
Important
Now

For me - I look at how much waste there is in the school in general and dont feel like having my money $100 or $1k or whatever go to something dumb. Then I think well if Im not donating to education then how can I donate to sports.

TLDR whole university is wasting money and I can use that money other ways.

Danny is always open
23 can't read

For those of us who graduated a long time ago, how is the university wasting money?

Oh no, please not more complaining about the logo

You connected the school wasting money to the new school logo and seem traumatized by it.

Why?

Gobble Till You Wobble

I'll state the obvious: Most people who are within 10 years of graduating are still busy paying off student loans from attending VT, and over the next 10 years are probably still enjoying the relief of no longer having to make that monthly payment. Then beyond that, you have to have people that are so committed to the athletic program, so invested emotionally and financially in sports, that it drives change. That's a lot of filters to go through that leaves you with actual donors.

I'll state the obvious: Most people who are within 10 years of graduating are still busy paying off student loans from attending VT, and over the next 10 years are feverishly saving for their kids college tuition based on the projected $50k/yr average state school cost in 18 years.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

Exactly! To me saving for my kids to attend college is more important than paying off my education AND donating to sports at the same time.

I would argue that 90% of people flat out waste $5-$10 every month. Donate it to the Hokie Club instead. As I've point out, $10/month = $120/year, and at 245,000 living alumni equates to $29.4M/year.

My philosophy:

We are a program developed from a "flash in the pan" success. We do not have the historical culture of winning and I think it's safe to say we only have one decade's worth of a "winning culture (1995 to 2005). We also have no championships. Had we won one or maybe even played for a 2nd, we might have had a small culture change to where people would say "Hey, VT can contend annually, we should do our part and maintain this success."

We have a ton of graduates, but then you have to discern from that:
1a. How many of these graduates are casual fans that root for VT vs die hard football fans?
1b. How many of these die hard fans make a substantial salary which allows them the flexibility to donate big bucks?

Another consideration is, demographically, I think it's safe to say the majority of the nearest population base (SWVA/Roanoke) is "poor", while also being a small population base at that (300k).

There's also an "emigration" affect once people do graduate. Most graduates do not remain in the general SWVA area, so you could argue "Out of sight, out of mind" when graduates move to cities 3 or 4 hours away or farther.

VT Marketing Class of 2009
Current Roanoke-Hokie
Go Hokies!

I don't know if it's as easy as questioning why people aren't donating. I can think of several reasons:

  • The website sucks, can't set up monthly payments - why hasn't that been fixed?
  • I haven't been contacted in I don't know how long by Tech for donations. Why? Granted, we're in the process of trying to move and are paying 2 mortgages, but plan on donating when we sell the old house.
  • Are we asking for a single lump-sum donation from people? Or an annual amount? It's easier for people to give a smaller amount per month - if we're not doing that, why?
  • Is it because people don't feel as much part of the fam? If so, why?
  • Do we do things on campus to get current students excited about football? If not, why not?

The website sucks, can't set up monthly payments - why hasn't that been fixed?

I ALWAYS go back to this example I have of this very thing. Earlier this year I tried to set up automatic payments on the website. Couldn't figure it out. I called the Hokie Club. They couldn't figure it out either and referred me back to the site.

Let me say this louder: I called the Hokie Club with a card in hand wanting to give them money. They turned me away. That's the sort of stuff that would never happen at Clemson.

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

Somebody give this like 1000 legs.

While I agree they should make it easy, I disagree that people who want to give can't figure it out.

I'll speak for myself - I'm not spending 15 minutes trying to figure out how to pay online, then spending another 15 minutes on the phone with someone from HC to figure out how to set up a reoccuring payment. I honestly can't think of any other payment portal I've used where it's taken me more than 3 minutes to buy something.

Twitter me

I think that's a valid complaint.

The website looks like something out of the 80s, but it's always worked as I expected. To be fair, I never tried to use the monthly donation "feature".

I don't care if the website looks like www.spacejam.com/ - I care how long it takes me to donate.

Go ahead and try to set up a monthly donation for $10/month. See how difficult it is. Tell me how long it takes you to figure out.

Twitter me

they don't turn down checks, if you want to give, you will find a way. If you don't want to give, you will find an excuse to not donate. Simple as that. Quit making excuses and donate if you want to donate. If you don't , stop complaining.

Disagree. There have times where I've been drunk after a game and tried to donate, but couldn't figure it out, so I didn't. There are times when people try to donate, can't figure it out immediately, figure they'll go back to later, then their car breaks down later that week and they decide to put that donation on hold indefinitely.

I don't think impulse donations are a large part of HC funding, but (a) every dollar counts, and (b) first time donations are the hardest donations to get - if HC's challenging donation portal is making it difficult to convert first time donors, it could have lasting impact.

Twitter me

here's how to fix your dilemma, the next time you are not drunk, you can donate if you want to. If not, then continue to complain. I am sure there are other things that you try to accomplish that are also difficult while being inebriated.

You're missing the point - friction in software prevents users from making purchases. Companies like facebook, twitter, paypall, ebay, shopify, and literally every other major e-commerce company in the world have a position called 'Growth Product Manager' that serves a single purpose: improve product design in order to maximize the ratio of users who 'visit' a website/app vs users who actually make a purchase in the website/app.

It's a reasonable opinion to have that HC should prioritize it's limited resources elsewhere, something other than improving conversion rate. However, if you think that HC is completely unlike other e-commerce companies, and stands zero/little to gain by improving conversion rate, then you clearly have no understanding of user behavior.

Twitter me

Maybe this is the school's attitude. The problem is, it's EASIER to not give than to give. Not everybody is a fan ("fanatic"), so they're not going to go out of their way to give. It HAS to be easy, otherwise you're actively turning away money. That isn't any way to run an organization that's trying to bring in money.

Sorry dude, but Hokie Club should be focused on making it as easy as possible to donate, not harder.

I agree, but Whit said directly last year that he was addressing this, so I'd expect to see some changes this year.

If we're still having this conversation next year, we need to send some more letters to Whit.

Who the fuck said that I didn't donate? Turns out you can do monthly payments but it required printing and filling out that Hokiematic form that looks the same as it did in 1999, and then have to send that in with a check. Because that's how we do recurring payments here.

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

Let's not forget the time that I set up a donation to be charged to my debit card on a specific date and someone in the Hokie Club attempted to charge my card THREE DAYS EARLY and then sent me a frantic email because my card was declined. Yes, Diane, it's because I don't get paid until the date I specified WHEN I SET UP THE FUCKING PAYMENT. /end rant

You didn't mail your finger prints in? You obviously missed step 13.

@hokie_rd

So this is giving to the university direct and not the Hokie club?

This attitude right here is how you fall behind in the donation race lmao.

This take is just laughable if you actually want the Hokie Club and donations to VT athletics to grow.

I joined Hokie Club in August, paid my donation (after making a pledge. The fact that it is a 2-step process is beyond idiotic), and received a receipt and all the Hokie Club stuff in the mail.

I just tried to log on to my account today and couldn't. It said that there is no account under that email address, which is my only email address and the same address where all Hokie Club correspondences have been sent. But I guess that is on me. I'm just making excuses, and an organization that wants my money shouldn't be held accountable for making it difficult for me to give it to them.

Also, I have not one time since graduation been contacted by VT in any way asking for money.

Not sure why this is so downvoted? They definitely will not turn down a check, I agree.

Hokie Club member since 2017

Just because they'll take it isn't the point. How many people in today's society would VASTLY prefer paying online. My wife and I have probably written 3 checks in the last 3 years. If the Hokie Club wants to operate like it's the 80s or 90s, that's a problem.

Who under the age of 50 is still writing checks in 2020?

Weekly daycare and monthly mortgage (so 2 mortgages) πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜­πŸ˜­

Click here to destroy wall.

It is better now than it was a couple years ago and I'm sure they'll continue to improve it. When I forgot to pay because the dead "victory" page was annoying, Bill Lansden called me to remind me, I told him the page sucked and he agreed and coincided improvements will be made. It used to be that you had to manage your hokie club, tickets, and pledge payments on 3 different pages which have all been merged so they are already making a lot of improvements. I also think donating now will help continue to move hokie club forward.

Hokie Club member since 2017

This is the most frustrating thing I see I everywhere. If you are a business, and college athletics is a business, then your number 1 goal is to make it as easy as possible for me to give you money.

If I am in a checkout line for to long then I start to think if I really need what I am buying, and unless you're a grocery store then typically I dont need what I am buy so I leave.
Its not worth the hassle. I always think this is wht circuit city failed, everytime I went in the store for something I walked out with nothing because half the time I couldn't get anything out of the locked cabinets and the other time no one was at the register.

I find this funny since I've been paying a monthly payment for almost 10 yrs. It wasn't hard to do back then, wonder how they screwed this up.

I tried on Saturday morning from my phone.

After much bitching about 'if you want to donate you'll find a way' I was motivated to try. I figured out how to 'pledge' the amount of money I want to give, but there's no fucking way to actually set up the payment. System is total garbage. In the last week I've spent more time trying to figure this out (during which I've forgone billing almost as much as I want to donate, meaning the Hokieclub has now cost me the $X I want to give, without actually getting the $X. Fucking ridiculous).

Old sigline: I've been cutting back on the drinking.

New Sigline: lol it's football season.

Just call them up. They can take your donation by phone.

Unless he wants to set up a monthly payment. Then there's no way in hell they'll set that up for him over the phone. They need a check and a form filled out. And no, they won't email you the form. You have to go to the website and get it. At least that's what they told me when I called.

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

Joe-

I want to start paying my TKPC dues by check. You're cool with that, right?

Old sigline: I've been cutting back on the drinking.

New Sigline: lol it's football season.

Am I some sort of warlock or something because I logged into my old account today, made a pledge, and then set up a recurring monthly payment for that pledge. Am I using the wrong website?

Also, I hadn't donated since 2015, but all my donation history was on my account back to 2005

That's the experience I've always had, too.

Just lucky I guess.

But I do agree that the website leaves something to be desired and could use some updating.

#3 is a great question and point. With such a large alumni base, why arent we gearing towards asking for smaller donations?

Our marketing team and division forgot how to "Invent the Future".

Why?

What's
Important
Now

Seriously. There are tons of ways to get smaller, more frequent donations from the fan base. Win a big game in a sport, email everyone on the list immediately after for a quick spontaneous one time $5-10 donation. Catch people while they're riding that high from victory for the price of a beer. Stuff like that might be small beans overall but it would certainly add to the pot over time. You have to catch people while they are in a good mood vs sending a "donation" packet after a disappointing end to the season from your biggest revenue generator. This could be used in addition to being able to set up monthly payments.

Do we do things on campus to get current students excited about football? If not, why not?

In the mid-2000s we used to have a day at the beginning of the year that was a "Welcome Back" at Lane Stadium. It had the football team, Frank, Bud, etc. all there giving basically a pep-rally. Not sure if they still do that. They also had autograph signings with the coaches inside Cassell, which I believe is part of family day now. I also remember Seth Greenberg outside D2 hosting regular scheduled talks about the team and coming opponent. And then there were the Tech Talk Live series at Bull and Bones with Frank, that anyone could show up to.

TLDR; VT used to do a lot. Not sure about now.

I think we need to do more stuff like that. Engagement with fans makes it feel more like a community. People are correspondingly more likely to donate.

The website sucks, can't set up monthly payments - why hasn't that been fixed?

I have #sauces that say a new Hokie Club website is being rolled out on 4/1. Why is that not publicized? I don't know.

Twitter me

πŸ‘VπŸ‘EπŸ‘NπŸ‘MπŸ‘OπŸ‘

Why they don't have a way to VENMO advertised at games is beyond me. Make it a 7 for 7 campaign. After every TD, put it a creative 7 for 7 advertisement on the jumbotron with a Venmo.

VT scored 208 pts at home last season. Multiply that times ~50,000 attendees and thats an easy $10M.

Little known fact - there are actually a lot of challenges with non-profits using venmo to collect donation. I recently learned this from the head of a local non-profit. He didn't go into details, but he said it was a headache for a bunch of reasons, and they recently had to start refusing donations sent via venmo. Don't know the whole story, but I get the impression that there are added complexities (my guess is it's legal/tax related, but not sure).

Edit to add:
You also have to consider the optics of doing something like this. I could totally see the Huffington Post or the guardian or something picking this up, and writing a paper about how expensive school is and how they're trying to take even more of your money, and blah blah blah. Or opposing fans noticing, and prominent bloggers saying that it's low brow. I mean, 10 years ago TKP and TSL would make fun of UVA for advertising 3 game ticket packages on TV - if you think that was tacky, just think about how it would look if we just flashed a venmo barcode on the jumbotron during half time *cringe*

Twitter me

Venmo is actually creating a portal to address the issues that non-profits face. I thought it would be out by now, but I researched using Venmo for my girlfriend's non-profit about 1.5 years ago.

I mean, 10 years ago TKP and TSL would make fun of UVA for advertising 3 game ticket packages on TV - if you think that was tacky, just think about how it would look if we just flashed a venmo barcode on the jumbotron during half time *cringe*

There's a difference between getting a ValuPak Coupon book for UVA tickets and using a tech based platform with edgy marketing. If we can do a light show with phones, we should be able to pull this off.

And IDGAF what UVA thinks if we are making an extra couple million every year from it. In fact, they'll probably emulate it.

The website sucks, can't set up monthly payments - why hasn't that been fixed?

I have been donating a flat amount to keep me at my desired benefit level and then giving when I can when VT sends out a blitz or drivefor25 email. I am an active donor and still feel like the hokieclub/hokieticket sites are cumbersome to use and a roadblock for people that want to be donating.

I have had difficulty each of the last 4 years navigating the various hokie sports sites to determine how much and where I'm supposed to allocate my donations to gain points. With the most recent change I am unsure if my account has rolled over properly and I again have no idea what my point level is and how I stand for season ticket purchases this year.

I'm going to spend my own time contacting the ticket office to figure this out and give them my money before March to finally become a season ticket owner, but I can totally understand people being turned off by this process and VT missing out on opportunities to increase donations. You have to make it easy for people to start somewhere and increase their engagement over time.

I think Tech is moving in the right direction allowing for a small minimum donation and having multiple giving events throughout the year, but they are still missing out not using a subscription model. They could have cashed in on about $500 from me alone during my grad school year if a $10/month option was available and I bet I would have upped my giving awhile ago if it was part of my monthly budget.

TLDR: It is a shame that VT hasn't implemented a simple-to-use donation and engagement platform that allows for monthly payments. I think they are moving in the right direction, but I still question what the university and the athletic dept are prioritizing and why they are so slow to modernize things. They don't seem to be able to invent 2007, munch less the future.

I wonder how much of the CTE issue has contributed to the lack of contributions. Is the Hokie fanbase more attuned to the issue and therefore less likely to donate when they know their money will be primarily used to fund a sport that has been the most high profile sport linked to CTE?

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

If this is the case, there needs to be education to the general public that your donations support multiple athletic programs if you donate the general scholarship fund.

To be blunt, the product doesn't warrant much of an investment lately. If I thought the product would have a solid ROI (that could be on the field, better scheduling, more fan access, etc.), I would definitely donate a lot more.

Maybe that will change once we join the SEC, or VT's own President has buy-in; whichever comes first.

But you invest before you expect a return. You may say the product isn't that great, but your investment would be to improve the product that you would see a return down the line. I think your question is whether you have the expectation that your donation would give a significant return - would better facilities translate to better recruits that could then turn to a better on field product. If people are questioning that, it makes sense donations aren't higher.

To that end, Fuente getting wins should go a long way to increasing donations. 6, 7, and 8 win seasons don't get fans excited about giving. 9 wins is better, but 10+ wins and getting to the ACCCG game is were people start getting excited about opening their wallets and getting real about wanting a Natty.

I think you're spot on. Given all the resources VT has, the fairly recent history of success, and the easy schedule, I expect better results on the field or atleast a product that makes me feel excited. The past 2 years especially have made me feel that money outside of what I already contribute will just be money wasted.

Winning cures all.

The value proposition is not there for you.

Besides wins what would be a great value proposition for you?

What's
Important
Now

If you do not donate to the hokie club, do you feel like a free loader? With other fan bases, it seems like the rule rather than the exception is to be a donor. With us, it seems like everyone has the right to the product without having to contribute to the product.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Free loader? Definitely not. I paid tuition. Football shouldnt be a pay to cheer game. I'd really like to know why you think it is a rule rather than exception to donate at other schools. What are the numbers in terms of alumni who donate? I know that at my age range the vast majority of people I know definitely do not donate.

Not all other schools, but I'll use UT as an example. My in-laws live in Knoxville. They had 5 kids and had to scrape by at times, but kept up their donations to Vol football. They are not alumni, but they did eventually put two kids through UT. The kids who stayed in Knoxville are donors and season ticket holders even though one is struggling to start his own company. Hell, my brother in laws wife's family (grandparents, parents, cousins, the whole clan) moved from Mississippi to the Knoxville area and promptly became donors and half of them are on welfare.

I know that's all anecdotal, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that it seems that other schools that we think should be our peers when it comes to football have a culture where the peer pressure to donate is intense to the point where it's downright shameful to be a fan that doesn't give something.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Fair, although i certainly don't see UT as our peer. I know they will always have more money to through around.

I'm sorry, but there is something wrong with this:

promptly became donors and half of them are on welfare

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

I guess I shouldn't mention the drug habits then, huh?

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

We are asked to donate more now, even when established features we once had have been taken away. Why?

Example: We had a really good feature that was taken away for reasons unknown. It was called Hokieshare, and it allowed us to donate our tickets to other Hokies, or to local charities, if you're not able to go to a basketball game that you have a ticket for. (And presumably football). Living in Raleigh makes it harder for me to get to some of the middle of the week games. And as a season ticket holder I'm usually stuck with a couple Wednesday out of conference games that I can't get to and it's not even worth trying to sell them. On that note: I actually had a ticket to the Duke game last season and I couldn't go, and when I went on Hokietickets website it actually recommended me to StubHub. Like. For real? You're actually wanting me to sell my ticket, that may end up in the hands of a Duke fan, so they can go in our house and heckle our players?

Not cool bro. I would much rather give my ticket away to a Tech fan. Too bad there's not a University sanctioned program for that. Oh wait....there was....

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

I'm fairly certain that if you click the link to stubhub when you resell your ticket, VT gets a cut. That's why they do that.

Here's a question, and not intended to call anyone out, simply interested in the responses:

For those on this website that don't donate to VT athletics, why? Any particular reason or just personal finances?

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

To be honest I'm married to a Georgia Southern Alum who's whole family is from Columbus Ohio and accordingly are all OSU fans, its hard for me to justify using part of our joint budget to donate to VT when that is just not something that has ever crossed her mind before.

VT '17

This argument sounds like it's aimed at a large donation. Do you spend $5, 10, or $20 per month on your own personal stuff or entertainment, I would say you shouldn't feel like you need to justify donating that much money. Those amounts total $60, $120, and $240 annually. And if the 245,000 living alumni all donated those amounts, it would be $14.7M, $29.4M, and $58.8M annually.

Could be the case. A lot of people think their $100 won't make a difference. I give a few hundred a year, can't remember exact amount honestly, but I don't break the bank for it. I just know I don't want to be a part of the problem, and anything helps a little bit.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

A few hundred a year is a heck of a good donation. Im all in on focusing on several smaller donations. Someone above also hit on a great point of hitting up people on the email list after a big win, great idea. Also, maybe not even just after big football wins- basketball wins could serve well too.

Honestly? I don't feel that athletically gifted individuals getting a free education is the top of my priorities for charitable giving. I'm not so sure it ever will be.

I prefer donating to my local community (and lord knows B-more needs it) in both time and $$.

Athletically-gifted individuals should get their education and luxury facilities paid for by the TV revenues and money brought-in through the athletic department. Especially those who "don't come to play school". If people decide to spend their disposable income on it, power to them, but it likely won't be me adding to the pot.

I give to VT, but I definitely don't consider it to be charity. It's more like giving money to your preferred political representative so they can win their election and represent your views; it's a selfish gift, not really a 'donation.'

Twitter me

Fair point, thanks for answering.

I will say that TV revenue and athletic department money still doesn't differentiate VT from the top schools of the country. It's the donor money that puts some schools up in the class of the top programs that do reap the extreme benefits of TV exposure and other benefits.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Totally get that. People with more money and devotion than me will fill that role.

Will I watch games? Yep. Will I be bummed when we lose? Yep. Will I lose sleep over the fact that I'm not giving money to the athletic department to update the locker rooms (and other things)? Not in the slightest.

Someone on this board paraphrased it best. I don't see the personal return on the investment in the hokie club, especially at my level. Part of that is me being obstinate. Part of that is on the HC for doing a crap job of convincing me otherwise.

I'll second this. There are places that need my money far more than semi-pro athletes. I pay for ESPN, which forwards some of that money to the school for football. As someone living in the southwestern US, the only benefit to me for donating would be the occasional emotional benefit for my team winning. I can get far more emotional benefit, and the community I live in benefits far more, by my sponsoring other local children here to attend pre-school, or providing for local homeless shelters.

I spent 11 years of my life paying VT for my education; they've gotten plenty of my money for the time being. And even if I am not perfectly happy with the product on the field, I am content with it. I would rather see ESPN and ticket sales go to paying the athletes for their performance than see them get a fancy new snack room funded by donations. The problem with college football is NOT that enough people are not giving money to it, but rather quite the opposite.

I think you've expressed your opinion very well.

I still donate to athletics, even though I don't live in the area, partially because my degree is worth more because of the national recognition gained from VTs sports success.

Also, because I love Virginia, and Blackburg is a lovely corner of the world.

After thinking about it more, I think it boils down to one of two ways I could think about the expense, neither of which I find compelling.

A) it is a business transaction: as a Hokie living 2000 miles from Blacksburg, I can't buy anything of value from the Hokie Club. I get far more from giving $85 to thekeyplay than I could get for giving even 10 times that to VT athletics.

B) it is a charitable donation: as a Hokie living 2000 miles from Blacksburg, my money can do far more good locally. I can favorably compare any local charity to one that may spend about $6 mil in a year on students (~300 scholarships at $20k each) and pays that much out to just 2 employees (Fuente and Young).

If VT doesn't do well in athletics, I hardly see the point of TheKeyPlay. We won 8 games this year, and this place was one tweet away from a meltdown on any given day. It's a lot more entertaining here when there's good news, and our donations are key to making that happen.

I support TheKeyPlay, but my donations to the Hoke Club are more important. And tax-deductible. There is some value in educating these athletes, most of whom aren't going to play football professionally.

I feel like transparency is a good thing with these types of things. Only assuming that donations are benefiting seat priority (if not, disregard), tax legislation change removed the 80% deduction for donations if it receives something in return (seat priority). I am not a tax expert, but feel like I did enough research on this to confidently say. Straight donations with nothing in return still have 100% tax deductible to my knowledge. Not sure if we have any tax accountants on here that can clarify if I have any of this wrong, if so that would be great.

EDIT: Change the old % and here is a link to the change. https://www.wsj.com/articles/forget-the-playoff-college-footballs-burnin...

@hokie_rd

I saw on their website that you can check a box with your donation saying you won't get any benefit from your donation (I assume from that, you won't build up points that could be used towards seat priority).

Check that, and you're 100% in the clear.

When I have enough for donations I will be only donating towards the Corps of Cadets (was actually called by them late 2018 but was didn't have enough because of student loans still paying off, my area was the main target of Hurricane Florence, and had to get a new car because the one I had finally shit the bed).
I hear/read some stuff with schools where the athletics get so much high dollar donations but the actual school suffers (LSU).

Donations to athletics just seems to bother me in general especially since ESPN and the conferences can pay for the facilities themselves for how much money they get, why not force them to pay instead of people trying to pay off student loans, mortgages, auto loans, etc.

Also I wonder with some of the donations, churches and similar, who made the decision to donate to the athletics when they were actually donated for something else but the people that donated to the "church" was lied to.

Trying to explain it is difficult to type, but hopefully it gives an idea or somewhat of a clear picture of what I'm trying to say.

"Oi! What's a Horkie"
"I am ya Grot!"

"Horkies were made for two fings foighten' and winnen'" - Horkie Warboss

"That Gritty git doesn't exactly look like a Horkie, but by Gork and Mork it acts like one!"-Random Horkie Boy

Location. SWVA, where most of the die hards live is a poor, low populated area. NOVA area; where the money and population is, are more passionate about pro sports. Compare that to state of Alabama where Bama and Auburn are their pro team and the entire state is willing to donate, not just alumni.

Id also be interested to see if more or less hokies are moving away from VA for jobs now than in the past. Id love to be getting season tickets every year and would likely try to donate enough to get good seats - but I live in Texas and getting to a single game wvery couple years is tough enough.

Danny is always open
23 can't read

Same here - I'm in Kansas now, and trying to get back to Blacksburg is an expensive proposition.

Yea, I'm in Atlanta. It's pretty crazy a weekend trip to LA and weekend trip to Blacksburg for a game require basically the same amount of travel time and travel costs (transportation + lodging).

Twitter me

Heck, I live 3 hours away in CLT and have season tickets and still didn't make a single game this season in the 'burg. Life gets in the way. I can't ask my family to give up stuff so I/we can go to a game for a day. I won't give up my seats, but I can guess now that I will only make 1 game next year if that. Now I have a friend who is in different stage in life and his family goes to every Clemson game , home or away. Can't imagine doing that.

Here's what I always come back to when I think about our donation problem, I am in a fantasy football league with 11 other guys from Tech, all are pretty invested in the football program, I have donated off and on but not consistently (something I would like to improve on), and there are MAYBE 2 other guys who have donated since graduation, I can't speak to everyone in the leagues financial situation in terms of loans but we all ended up with good jobs out of college where we theoretically have the disposable income to donate, why do we not? My best guess is one that is kinda stated above, no one feels like they need to

VT '17

Tell them about this discussion and ask them (say not trying to call them out, just curious if they'll share). Knowing why is always better than guessing why.

From this perspective - we should ask whether it's putting something on the Hokie Club website asking anonymously or something like that.

I've brought it up before when we get together for our draft every year (everyone is so spread out at this point that its the only time we're all together) and just kinda got some mumbled responses with some "yea we probably should" and "why we're trash" (said as we lost to BC during our draft weekend last year) mixed in but while they throw some half-hearted reasons out it just seems like its not a priority/they are kinda apathetic to it

VT '17

To me it means they aren't being enticed enough to buy in. The value proposition is not there. They aren't being marketed to appropriately.

No reason in today's marketing world where everything is extremely personalized, we should it be able to reach these guys with the right message.

What's
Important
Now

Multiple reasons to cause one major problem

1 - Our alumni base is trending younger based on larger class sizes than in the past. The average donor nowadays has not been in the workforce as long and as such are still in entry level jobs, whose salaries have stagnated over the last 10-15 years, in spite of inflation.

2 - Tuition is ungodly high causing most of our new alumni to graduate with significant student loan debt.

3 - The Millennial generation, because of the trend toward higher debt, primarily caused by student loans, combined with a stagnant corporate ladder and salary structure due to the older generation working longer into their careers, does not have as high a percentage of disposable income as previous generations, and have become one of the more budget conscious generations the US has seen.

4 - There is no incentive to give. You do not gain any significant advantage by giving that you would not have otherwise. For the budget conscious, this is an opportunity to save money.

5 - The Hokie Club is incredibly poor regarding alumni reach. Most alumni never hear from the Hokie Club again after graduation. This very much causes an 'out of sight, out of mind' approach to alumni giving to the HC.

6 - When people want to give, the Hokie Club makes it way more difficult than it should be in order to do it. The fact we can't set up monthly payments or are not able to easily restart payments if they have lapsed in the past is, quite frankly, absurd at this point. You still have to call in to get your account reset if your payments have lapsed in the past. That extra step is going to be one step too far for a few potential donors, which is just stupid at this point. In this day and age, everything should be accomplished online, especially for a tech school.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

3 - The Millennial generation, because of the trend toward higher debt, primarily caused by student loans, combined with a stagnant corporate ladder and salary structure due to the older generation working longer into their careers, does not have as high a percentage of disposable income as previous generations, and have become one of the more budget conscious generations the US has seen.

I get that, but, at the same time, our generation (graduating pre-collapse) still had a lot of students whose parents footed the bill or who were able to pay down loans fairly quickly. I know there's some bias here, but 5 years out none of the classmates I kept in touch with from ME still had outstanding loans. And that's only working for 6 months before the housing market tanked and took the economy with it. And yet, very few of them are hokie club members. I can even think of a couple who have stopped giving in recent years.

I honestly don't expect much of our giving to be coming from recent grads, but we have a huge issue with alums who have been out for ~15 years. Even accounting for varied circumstances, there should be a majority in that age range who are able to give.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Add location of where the alumni base resides, and you have the 7 deadly sins (causes) of poor support.

I agree wholeheartedly with 4 & 6. I've donated at the Bronze level for the past 4 years and stepped up to Silver this year in the hopes of jumping into better seats with the reseating this year. But that's the only reason I upped my donation. There's no incentive to do so otherwise. No meet the team days, no meet and greet with the coaching staff, no chance at winning tickets other than the one person each game who's been donating for the last 30 years, nada.

The HC website is a flaming pile of shit. The system's inability to calculate my priority points and ranking except for once a frickin year is outrageously stupid. There's only one giving portal because they can't figure out how to do more than that, how hard is it to track the money coming in?!

There is very much a meet the team day, called fan appreciation day. Also post spring game on the field.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

You are 100% correct. What I'm suggesting is a smaller group than the "open the barn doors and wait in line all day for autographs" that is fan appreciation day.

I don't know the stats with small donors vs big donors (I won't put a dollar amount on that but hopefully my point is made below on this).

Is it possible Tech's problem isn't the small time monthly payment folks donating, but more-so they aren't catering to the big time Donors? We bring up SWVA being poor and then compare it to Bama. Va as a state has a median income of 72k while Alabama is 49k.

These schools we compare ourselves to have big time donors invested and it may cover up the same issue we are here talking about now....getting more small time donors involved. We ask what the cost of getting big time donors involved? Well think about what we said when Whit was rumored to USC. "Think about the headaches and politics he's going to have to deal with. Tech doesn't allow anyone that close, which in turn COULD be turning off the big players. Think about when Buzz left ex players were excited. CJF is running a closed off program. These things also play in to small time donors as well.

I could be way off in my thinking, but I don't feel I am as donations are a daily topic on here.

Other perspective:
Why do I get calls from student employees asking for a donation to VT only because I have a child currently enrolled there? My answer to them: I already am giving you $20,000 a year so I can't give anymore.

I have never received a call asking for any kind of donation since I attended VT other then when I have had a child enrolled, on my second one now.

This happened to my parents while they were putting me and my sister through school there (out of state, no less!). They'd just laugh and hang up.

Try being a VT graduate student. Then they just call you and ask for donations instead of your parents.

I was expecting a Fish Bone. I was misled. Boooooooooooooo.

No fault tree either? C'mon now.

The marketing of culture and state pride of our in-state schools is fucking awful. I shouldn't be able to drive from Va Beach west on 64 to Richmond north on 95 to DC without seeing VT and UVA shit fucking everywhere.

In Michigan every other company was wolverine this, spartan that. VT sues the tits off anyone who uses anything close to their trademarks.

There are very few billboards. More lately, but we're like decades late to that.

We don't have a network of hospitals or other campuses yet.

ESPN radio shows. I drive from Williamsburg to Richmond every day from work and my choices of ESPN local radio go from ODU to VCU/Richmond. I would honestly rather listen to UVA radio.

Our football team doesn't do itself any favors either. Instead of reaching out, we close it off. It's so dumb you have to drive 3-5 hours to Blacksburg to watch the spring game instead of it being on TV. I would fire someone over this decision alone.

Recruit Prosim

In Michigan every other company was wolverine this, spartan that. VT sues the tits off anyone who uses anything close to their trademarks.

This is something that I've heard is quite challenging - apparently it's way harder to get a license to use VT's logos than most other schools. Recently had a conversation about this with HomeField Apparel. Not sure why it's so difficult.

Twitter me

I agree its not great, out of site out of mind in Virginia Beach

That being said, I have noticed a very concerted effort for Virginia Tech advertising in the past year, especially Football. So..somebody there notices it too. W

Well see if they keep it up, the Hokie Club car decals are the only visibility that Hokie Club in fact exists in the area

Freaking Duke advertises on billboards in Richmond.

For football.

Duke football also advertises in Lynchburg.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

We don't have a network of hospitals or other campuses yet

This solution process has started. Hopefully the opportunity provided as the roll out progresses isn't lost on the administrators.

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

Boom!

Why does Virginia Tech make it so difficult to join Hokie Club / donate?

Not sure if this is the right place to put this but I just found out that my Hokie CLub account was apparently erased or something. I joined in August 2019 and paid my pledge--also how dumb is it that you join and then pledge and then pay the pledge?? Just make me pay to join at the level I am trying to join--and I received an email confirmation and receipt.

Just now I wanted to go back in and be reminded of how awful the whole interface is and my password did not work. I hit 'forgot password' and entered my email--the same one where all confirmations/receipts were sent and it said there was no record of my email. So now VT has someone (who has never been contacted by the school since graduation about donating) who wants to donate and can't. The whole Hokie Club appears to be a joke. I apologize for the rant.

I agree about the pledge/donate thing.

When I log in, it's to donate. Not sure of the value of the pledge concept.

You should call them if your account disappeared. You probably have a valid account ID that they could look up for you.

I may, but all emails I have gotten from them say "Not yet assigned" next to "AD/ticket number". No line item for account ID is given. If it was on something they mailed to me in the last 6 months then there is no chance I still have that. Also, that would be a terrible way to do things, but also on brand for the Hokie Club in my experience.

You should call them if your account disappeared. You probably have a valid account ID that they could look up for you.

This honestly should never be something that you need to do. That extra step is going to filter people out who just don't care to be bothered by that extra step. This process needs to be mind numbingly straight forward and simple with the end goal of every attempt on the site to end with a donation with no additional follow-up needed. That fact that we hear so, so many stories about website bugs like this are just completely unacceptable when we have the fundraising issues we have.

They need to clean their own house up before they start telling us fans how bad we are. It should not be an adventure to donate.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

My account recently disappeared too. I went to login today and the site cannot find my email or customer number to even reset my password. I logged in without a problem not a month ago. I plan on calling them up tomorrow, but I agree I have been donating for the last 3-4 years and plan on upping my donation before re-seating, but it seems like I have to call them every year to straighten something out.

I remembered that VA Tech started the Boundless Impact campaign to raise $1.5 billion. I googled that, and would have expected a link to a Tech site with a way to donate to show up amongst the first links. It was not, and I do not feel like looking, but would say that a site not being there is a fail on the part of the fundraising staff.

So I searched on "VA Tech Donations" and found this link. There is the option to give monthly on there as well as where the donation should go. There is zero reason that if the main school site has that option that the Hokie Club shouldn't.

Soo much better!

What's
Important
Now

Yes, it has the right look and feel.

Somebody needs to make a landing page like that for the Hokie club - images from (primarily) football, but other sports as well. Not sure why my search led me to the other link, this one is better. Again, someone in the fundraising department needs to manage that. I know there's a way to manage what shows up in google searches and we need to do better at it.

Very good, but the value proposition needs to be a little higher to get people to donate.

What's
Important
Now

Holy shit that looks great

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

I think younger potential donors or folks with less means have some difficulty in quantifying the ROI. Most people equate their money with something in return that is tangible and (Wins) are not something that you will see right away. I think we would find more success in equating donations with "access" and that is not something CJF is good at or apparently wants. To explain, it would sort of be like a VIP card to a club or restaurant where you immediately and actually saw some type of reward which most of us as a society are accustomed to. Also, it can make someone with less means feel like it's only worth me donating if I have enough that would get me some "VIP" or "Access" types of perks. For this demographic a $ > Potential Future Wins. The marketing has to concentrate on showing the value/opportunity cost of all levels of donation and create a more accessible program for every level of contribution. You do that and people will feel like they are part of the program JMO. Go Hokies.

Jeremiah 29:11 and Go Hokies!

Send them bling and make them feel a part of something.

Maybe a bottle opener...

I think there are 2 big issues.

1) Ease of access/knowledge/marketing. Our school does an atrocious job looking for donations. Pamplin has called me 1 time in the 5 years since I've graduated. The athletic department sends me the occasional email. Our social media accounts post 1 day before the Drive for 25. We don't hammer the point home about how important donating is. Part of these marketing techniques should include direct(mobile friendly) links to donate a small amount in one click ($5-10). Setting up a better mobile donation site wouldn't hurt at all. Earlier this year was the second time I've donated outside of the Drive for 25...its not difficult but it isn't intuitive (significantly better than the old site)

2) The Beamer affect mentioned above. I think a lot of our older fans think we can do this with out money because we did in the past. They don't see the change in the landscape.

I really think that a big focus on small donations would be huge I mean if we could get that 5% up to say 20% only donating $10 a year that's a half a million there. Obviously there's some very crude math there but you get the point increasing donors giving $0 to $10 adds up quickly.

(add if applicable) /s

I would like see the Hokie Club approach the fundraising across multiple lines of effort:

LOE 1 would be to current students and would start at orientation and continue through graduation (maybe 18-25 yo target audience). Nobody would know how to reach and influence this group like their peers so I would look to leverage involvement of current students on campus to lay the groundwork. Offer some credit or use it as a lab for one of the Comm or Public Relation courses. Overlap notable and crowd generating events (sports and non-sports) with fundraising efforts led by VT students. Present an option to continue giving post graduation in a defined amount, $5/$10/$20 per month prior to getting that diploma.

LOE 2 could be considered the just graduated and early professional. Not many of these people are likely to have large amounts of discretionary income but likely more than they had as students. This should focus on remembering the great times as students and beginning to establish themselves with priority points for future use as well. Reinforcing their enjoyment of watching their school continue to do well as a sense of pride. Focus is to continue contributions and get new donors that may not have been engaged as much as students but are looking for a way to connect back to VT

LOE 3 could be the midlife and older target demographic. Money to donate is likely available at this point in life. Every little bit helps but this is where donations should start at the hundreds or more per year level. This block is probably looking at better tickets, better tailgating, bowl tickets, meet and great with staff and/or players, etc. Obviously every bit helps but most of our big $$$ donor come from here and should be marketed/targeted as such.

Also, I would like an easy to use and functional Hokie Club app, an updated Hokie Club site that is easy to use and doesn't have clip art circa 1999 (may have recently changed). An intuitive giving button for both recurring and/or one time giving so I can donate after the "high" of a good win. Messaging and information campaigns should be pushed on both regular intervals and when significant events would spur actions (making NCAA tournament, Coastal Crowns, etc...). This isn't a whole plan by any means but I think it could start us moving in the right direction.

Finally, my one "hot take" would be to look at cutting some of the sports and reallocating those funds to other sports until a time when our funding can support them better. I would like to be great/excellent across a smaller number of teams than OK/good across every conceivable sport (i.e. stop worrying about the Director's Cup).

STICK IT IN!
STICK IT IN!
STICK IT IN!

Oh boy tkp LOVES monthly payment options. /s

Seriously though I'm 26 I'd sign up for 10 a month and then still do my normal drive for 25 deal.

(add if applicable) /s

We've danced around this a bit in the comments, but IMHO the root cause is inconsistency and lack of overall impact by the Hokie Club as an agent of Virginia Tech. I graduated from VT grad school after getting my BS at a smaller regional school. The difference in marketing between the two athletic and alumni programs is absolutely maddening! In the past 12 months, I've received a T-shirt, complimentary homecoming football tickets and tailgate, duffel bag, yard flag, car flag, and a kitchen drawer full of stickers and such.
And I don't even donate to them.

However, I absolutely do donate to the HC via payroll deduction, since I work here. Even trying to get that accurately credited (and increased!) was a challenge. I'm on campus for the love of .... When it takes multiple calls to get a donation increased... That just screams systemic organizational problems.

With the positive change and effort Whit has made elsewhere it strikes me as insane that the HC continues to be so anemic.

And no surprise there, it's Wally Lancaster with an airball that looked gorgeous on its way to nowhere...
2/15/89, VT vs. South Carolina...

Lee

Beamer/Vick/Bud fostered a cake and eat it too culture. Win 10 games, play on espn, killer stadium atmosphere allowed VT to punch above it's weight class, so all is good. People thought they didn't have to donate.

I have a few thoughts:

I wonder if the blue collar work ethic the program is founded on could be backfiring in any way because of an "earn every dollar and don't take no handouts" mentality.

How is it that a Hokie Club rep is not on this site promoting and helping out with the many questions on this thread. Wouldn't that be very easy and they would have a passionate fanbase at their fingertips?

College football really is an odd system in that it makes millions of dollars on its own and it still isn't enough.

For all the money that we are talking about not having, some of these blueblood are wasting a lot of it. We don't need to completely close the gap. Our Texas recruiting this year opened my eyes to what bodies on the ground can accomplish. I don't think we need leather seats as much as we need staff on airplanes.

All this talk about money but the number 1 most important thing to compete at a high level is having a great quarterback (just a thought that popped into my head even if not applicable)

"I am probably too rational to be here"

Engineers and architects make send your kid to college money and go to the beach every summer money, not in your fucking face money. We need in your fucking face money to compete with the big boys. That comes in two forms: a culture of donating or big ass fucking donors. We have neither.

big ass fucking donors. We have neither.

Ever heard of the Merryman family?

Hokie Club member since 2017

I've mentioned this before on here. I think they should embrace micro-giving. A setup similar to Acorn where anytime you use your debit/credit card the transaction is round up to the nearest dollar and that amount is donated to the hokie club. You should be able to set a limit to where at a certain donation level this stops for the year and restarts January 1 of the next year. I did a quick look through my transaction history and it would amount to roughly $350/year. It happens automatically, you get reward points for it, and young alumni aren't consciously coming out of pocket $100.

But of course this is a pipe dream because as others have said we cant even do monthly recurring donations at this point. Ironically I tried to setup monthly contributions over the weekend because the hokie club website says that is an option. I spent 20 minutes in a feedback loop and thought I must be missing something or maybe the site wasn't fully compatible with iOS. Nope, the website just sucks. Settled on a one time donation. To those who said if you really wanted to give you would find a way. Not true. I want to give but not at all costs. My time is a cost. I also feel like jumping through hoops to give gives less incentive for VT to get serious about updating the website.

I would like to address two topics that keep popping up: The poor but passionate Southwest VA, and bigger lump sum donations. It's a bit of a misconception to say that SWVA is too poor to donate to VT athletics. On the contrary, lots of big time lump sum old coal money came from SWVA to VT. So much in fact that they named a building or two after some of these benefactors. These rich coal barons were practically rolling in money and they were very, very passionate about VT athletics. They cared more about VT than any other collegiate/professional sports programs combined. I've seen big amounts of money pour into the our athletics from this area with my own eyes.

Well, that old coal money has mostly dried up and to no one's surprise those corresponding giant lump sum donations from SWVA have all but stopped. I'd love to see a regional breakdown of giving, but if I had to guess I would say that the money that goes from deep SWVA to VT was once a respectable number and now it's probably a drop in the bucket.

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

Its winning at the next level which then attract more donor money. Other then a short list of blue bloods, teams money ebbs and flows with winning big games. And making runs at NCs.

In the last 5 years ACC coaches salaries have increased by 43%. And the ACC is getting worse every year. So people are throwing their money into a money pit, why?

College football has more fans than pro, larger game day crowds, constant rotating jersey sales, and compensates their athletes out of donations, and typically pay their coaches less. But donations are required for a billion dollar industry to continue. Why?

The CEO of the orange bowl makes makes a 7 figure salary for a single football game. Why? At least the Rose bowl has a parade.

Why does it feel like the influx of money into college football has just stacked the deck for the haves while the have nots think they can compete?

When players who assault two coaches and a player the day of the game, and gets to play because of some "1 hour requirement" that isnt in the ncaa rule book because its better for the bowl game s TV ratings (read profit). College football is a losing battle on a down hillslide to implosion. So why speed that up with more money?

You're right, of course, but it's an arms race, and we have a favorite team.

In the last 5 years ACC coaches salaries have increased by 43%. And the ACC is getting worse every year. So people are throwing their money into a money pit, why?

Because the SEC, B10, and B12 are getting more tv money than us (Thanks a lot Swofford). If we want to keep up, that money has to come from somewhere. That somewhere right now is fans.

Twitter me

My point was that the increase is so much that the rate is unachievable to follow with donations. In theory, our graduating classes have to increase 43% every 5 years to account for the donations to support this. Which is unmaintanable.

Look if Fortnite can become the first billion dollar video game through micro-payments, we can surely close the gap if we have the right strategy.

What's
Important
Now

Please stop. Go donate. Action speaks louder than words.

Also, we need to change the tone. Instead of "hey, why aren't we donating", turn it into "I've been donating and it's awesome, you should try it", or "start donating and get xyz incentives". The tone just starts off so badly.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Nope. I am not going to stop until the narrative is changed.

Everything gets thrown right onto the fan bases feet. We get told we are the issue.

Lambasting the people you want to get to donate doesn't help fix the problem, it makes it harder for them to get behind it. Understanding the demographic, their pain points, and how to reach them does.

Stop scapegoating the damn fan base.

What's
Important
Now

Okay, but the fan base is the donor base, and said donor base isn't donating. I let this post sit, and lo, posters below are pushing to "just donate". It's a culture problem, and culture doesn't change without action.

We have spent 30 years behind 2 men who built a program without the money. There was no donating culture when my brother was a student in the late 90s, and there wasn't one when I was a student from 04-09. I will never forget Jim Weaver madder than hell that he couldn't sell the Hokie allotment to the 2009 Orange Bowl, but we were all there. There was no engagement with the athletic department, no interaction, no need.

We traveled well to games without the AD. We built our fan base without the AD. Now the AD wants our money, that we've poured for the program without them, into the program.

And let's be Frank, we got wholly complacent with the social media explosion and spread offenses. Oh, we don't need it, we'll be fine. But from '12-'15, we struggled on the field, and that has led to a generation of students who are apathetic to the football program and do not go to games. So now, not only are we being asked for donations when we didn't need them, but also when we are sucking wind on the football field.

So I will conclude with this. We need to get the minimum donations on board. I think this thread is a start. There are what, 4? 5? New donors down below. We need the AD, Babcock, alumni groups etc, to be engaging and interacting. Right now, I don't believe that infrastructure exists in the AD. That has to change. And then, we need the spark: we need to win in the field.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

There are lot of studies that show If you want to increase donations you increase engagement/involvement first.

Why does the Hokie Club have such poor engagement/involvement, especially in large alumni populated cities?

Because it relies on volunteers.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

There is a communication problem around here. I met Bill Lansden at a fundraising event (relatively) recently, explained that I was full time grad student, unable to donate, and asked how I could help. Rather than telling me about volunteering opportunities, he told me to donate anything, and then told me to tell my friends who are working to donate.

If the organization relies on volunteers, there should be some way for me to contribute by volunteering, right?

Twitter me

As far as I know he is no longer working in the Hokie Club. In order to have a chapter you have to be a donor. This is where the alumni association and Hokie Club have dropped the ball where they should be working together. They don't do a very good job outside VA supporting Local chapters.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Yea this was about 9ish months ago in Atlanta. We have an alumni association, but I'm not sure how they work together with Hokie Club. Would've loved to volunteer, help with coordinating events, etc. but that wasn't the case.

Twitter me

I help run the Philly Alumni Association. Not a cent of the money I raise goes to the Hokie Club, it goes directly to a scholarship for a local student to attend VT.

I also helped run the LA Branch as well, and it was the same there.

Alumni Association and Hokie Club are not one and the same.

What's
Important
Now

You are correct - here's the announcement that he moved on. Link
It's a pretty good read because it also covers some things they're doing with the Hokie Club.

That's a good link. It was dated October, 2019, and they said this:

Per Babcock, they will "engage in a process to evaluate and review our entire staffing structure of the Hokie Club team." Vice President of Advancement Charles Phlegar is helping with the process.

I'm hoping that means some of our concerns are getting addressed organizationally. It does seem that they realize that some changes are needed.

I just re-joined the Hokie Club. I challenge anyone else who either donated in the past or is thinking about it to do the same. There's no reason why we can't gorilla market this sumbitch. Who says we need the Hokie Club to do it for us? We all have Hokie friends, send them an email, message them on Facebook, send them a text. Grass roots this sucker!

Also, join the TKP Club. These guys put out great content on a shoestring budget.

My man, all the sharing you just talked about should be part of the Hokie Club process after your done setting up a donation! This is the kid of simple innovation they should be doing.

What's
Important
Now

What environmental factors are impacting the program?

What's
Important
Now

What economic factors are impacting the program?

What's
Important
Now

What social factors are impacting the program?

What's
Important
Now

What technological factors are impacting the program?

What's
Important
Now

Just FYI.

I recently made a contribution to the Hokie Club. They sent me a survey to describe my experience.

So it's pretty clear to me that they're interested in making improvements, and eliciting donor feedback.

My advice is to donate, and they'll probably send you a survey, too. And then you can send your comments to the people running the Hokie Club.

Thank you for your recent gift to Virginia Tech! Your experience as a donor is important to us, and we want to know more about that experience. This survey only takes five minutes to complete and your feedback is appreciated.

This is not a solicitation for a gift. The University is partnering with Grenzebach Glier and Associates (GG+A) to conduct the survey. Your confidential responses will be securely collected by GG+A and not shared with any third party.

If you have technical issues with the survey, please contact GG+A directly at surveylab@grenzglier.com. For any other questions, please contact Virginia Tech, at donorrelations@vt.edu or by calling 540-231-2190.

Thank you for your time and your support of Virginia Tech!

Take the Survey

Of course the survey was from Virginia Tech in general, not the athletic department. And I don't particularly want a lot of phone calls and emails.

This is good, but not great. They should send the survey to all alumni, not just donors. I think they'd get the best feedback from people who actually don't donate as to why they don't. Second in what I'd want to know would be why current donors donate the amount they do, and if there's a reason they don't give more (that sounds money-grubberish maybe, but I bet someone could put a positive spin on it), and lastly, any other suggestions current donors have.

The survey was actually pretty good in terms of asking how you think they're doing, where they can improve, and what your donation priorities are.

I got the survey a couple of weeks ago. Gave them a very critical response in terms of ease of donations and the functionality of the "new" website. I hope they actually take it to heart and try to improve things, I really do.

I made similar comments. Maybe they'll start to see a trend.

That's good. I was mainly talking about who all they're giving it to. Like I said, I think there's a lot to be learned from the people who don't donate. Like I just realized that one of the reasons I haven't ever donated is really just lack of awareness. Up until I started reading this stuff on TKP, I just assumed the program was funded through tv deals primarily. I want a better product on the field, so now I want to donate.

Don't read that as I want Fuente gone, but if he starts putting together a string of 10+ win seasons and ACCCG appearances, I don't want low staff salaries to be the reason he leaves. If he does not get to that level, I want the money to go towards a coach and staff that can get us there.

Had a conversation with a big tech fan, works for NASA and watches all the tech games. He had no idea what the Hokie Club was or what it did. He also said that the engineering school has reached out for a donation and the Hokie Club has never reached out to him.

If he had two choices at the same time 1) donate to the engineering school 2) donate to the Hokie Club (after learning about what it is) he would choose Hokie Club every time.

What's
Important
Now

The school needs to do a better job of telling people about the Hokie Club when they're still students.

It's notoriously hard to contact people and keep track of addresses after people leave school.

That said, if you google "virginia tech athetics donation" you'll find the Hokie Club.

But maybe they should have advertisements on billboards in the stadium that would get picked up on TV coverage.

Agree about awareness early on.

Why is it his engineering school has the right info to reach out to him frequently, but the Hokie Club doesn't have that info and has NEVER reached out to him?

What's
Important
Now

Seems like they could share information, but I don't know.