More than 2,680 new Razorback Foundation members and an additional $6.5 million to support University of Arkansas student-athletes competing in 19 sports were generated as part of the Razorback Seat Value Plan (R.S.V.P) it was announced on Monday.
The 18-month program succeeded in helping increase overall Razorback Foundation membership by 20 percent and raising annual support of Razorbacks Athletics through the foundation to more than $18 million. With the increases, Arkansas moved up one position to rank eighth among Southeastern Conference programs in total number of donors while remaining ninth in total annual budget.
R.S.V.P. was the first phase of Answer the Call, a decade-long comprehensive fundraising initiative announced last August. The updated seat equity plan for home football games at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium and War Memorial Stadium was designed to enhance the athletic program's annual financial support providing Razorback Athletics with additional resources to compete amid increasing scholarship, facility and operational costs.
"The overwhelming response and generosity of Razorback fans made R.S.V.P. a resounding success for the future of our program and the more than 460 student-athletes who compete for the University of Arkansas," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. "In August, we outlined a customized plan specifically tailored to the Razorback program to help us close the financial gap between ourselves and our on-field competitors. While we still have more progress to make, R.S.V.P. was an important first step in the process. We are grateful for the many supporters who stepped up and helped us meet the challenge. "
A total of 2,687 new members joined the Razorback Foundation as part of R.S.V.P. During the process, the R.S.V.P. staff, led by Executive Director Chris Wyrick, fielded more than 18,000 phone calls and accommodated more than 3,900 seat selection appointments. In addition, members of the Razorback Foundation and the ticket office worked with foundation members to provide additional information, answer questions and assist with updating and customizing donor accounts.
"While most programs see a substantial drop in their number of donors when implementing similar plans, the Razorback Foundation saw a significant increase in its overall membership during R.S.V.P.," Long said. "To our knowledge, the addition of more than 2,680 new members was the largest membership growth of any program in the country that did not expand their stadium as part of the process. That is a credit to the tremendous support of our Razorback fans and the entire Razorback Foundation team."
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