University of Miami Athletics
INCREASES ONLINE GIFTS BY 64% AND RAISES ALMOST $400,000
The University of Miami Athletics began a multi-year partnership with Pursuant in late 2012 to create and execute an online giving strategy to drive member renewals and acquire new donors.
Membership renewals via season ticket purchases are crucial for the University of Miami, which has one of the nation’s leading sports program in a very competitive sport and entertainment market.
Miami had yet to employ an online renewal and acquisition campaign when it approached Pursuant. It was using an online ticketing system that handled ticket sales extremely well, but it wasn’t ideal for fundraising. The system created transactional friction and depressed giving because it required both registration and user data entry.
Pursuant developed a personalized renewal and new member campaign that used email to direct recipients to a landing page with a compelling Pursuant-produced video featuring University of Miami celebrities Coach Jimmy Johnson and Michael Irvin. The UM Building Champions landing page included vision-casting copy with a clear call to action and an embedded form pre-filled with the recipient’s address information and a targeted gift amount.
Miami further used their star power by asking several celebrities to mention the campaign and the #buildingchampions theme on Twitter. Fifteen percent of all site traffic came from Twitter, making it the second highest source of traffic behind the email campaign. The 2013 Building Champions campaign also saw a high amount of mobile traffic with 41 percent of site visits occurring on a mobile device.
To reduce friction and facilitate a more seamless giving process for donors, Miami Athletics moved away from using their current ticketing system to accept donations and relied on Pursuant Sports’ technical expertise to develop a payment form integrated with the computer systems of Miami’s Division of University Advancement.
BREAKTHROUGH RESULTS – YEAR ONE
Pursuant’s distinctive expertise in web-based membership and acquisition campaigns, their award-winning video production team, and their technical know-how to overcome software interface challenges, along with having a partner (Miami Athletics) that fully embraced and executed Pursuant’s stratagies solutions, yielded astonishing results.
By the end of the six-week email campaign, the University of Miami’s investment resulted in $71,764 from 445 gifts. More than half of the donors were first-time donors. From the end of the email campaign through the remainder of 2013, Miami reported additional revenue of $100,000.
As a result of Pursuant’s email campaign and other activities, Pursuant’s year one (2013) engagement with the University of Miami yielded incredibly successful results, helping Miami meet and far exceed their annual goal of 500 new members by 300 percent.
YEAR TWO STRATEGIC APPROACH
Looking at year two (2014) and building on the momentum of year one, Pursuant recommended a revised campaign strategy employing a similar multi-channel communications stream but with a deeper focus on renewing first-time donors to the campaign and upgrading current donors.
To achieve those results, Miami introduced “Canes Plus” giving levels to encourage members to upgrade their giving beyond the minimum required donation for each membership level. In addition, Pursuant counseled Miami to give high-dollar donors the landing page option of contacting a University of Miami Athletics representative by phone to discuss a payment plan. That offer generated a large number of follow-up interactions with Miami donors.
The year two Building Champions campaign deployed email, social media, PURLs, and search engine marketing to drive traffic to a personalized landing page featuring a Pursuant-produced video, this time featuring UM and NFL great Ray Lewis, along with UM coaches.
The campaign call to action sounded the upgrade strategy, telling supporters, “Give now, dig deep, we need you to take it to the next level as our student-athletes take it to the next level every day.”
A 136 PERCENT REVENUE CAMPAIGN INCREASE YEAR OVER YEAR
Fantastic results followed in the first six weeks of the 2014 campaign, which yielded 586 gifts, an increase of 32 percent over last year; revenue of $169,274, up 136 percent; and an average campaign gift of $341.28, a 117 percent YoY increase.
Since the end of the initial email campaign, Miami Athletics has seen an additional 194 gifts and $55,000+ in revenue with associated revenue numbers and members continuing to increase.
“Our back-to-back Building Champions campaigns link Miami’s national championship tradition to the role our donors play in bringing that legacy back to Miami,” said Jesse Marks, associate athletic director for development at UM. “With our national brand and Pursuant Sports’ specialty in video production, along with its’ powerful multi-channel messaging, we were able to hit well over 1,000 new members in our program and generate significant new donation revenue directly benefitting UM student-athletes.”
Pursuant Sports is currently developing a major gift prospect strategy for the University of Miami Athletics that will give high-tier prospective donors an ultra-personalized experience. This strategy seeks to tailor communications to prospects’ unique interests and ability to give, with a goal of generating six-figure donors to UM Athletics.
ABOUT THE HURRICANE CLUB
The mission of the Hurricane Club is to strengthen the University of Miami’s commitment to student-athlete excellence, both academically and athletically. Through the Hurricane Club, volunteers, alumni, fans, and former student-athletes collectively seek to provide the operational and scholarship funding vital for all 17 varsity sports.