VandalVenue.com: What percentage of alumni gives to the VSF and are the levels, both in numbers and donation amounts increasing or decreasing?
Jim: I can't exactly tell you the percentage of alumni that give but I call tell you we have approximately 68,000 to 70,000 addressable alumni that we know where they're at and we have a total of approximately 2,500 VSF members. So as you can tell it's a very small percentage. I think for schools like Idaho, I look at their game programs and their donor levels just as they look at ours. I don't see anyone in our league that is light years ahead of us or behind us; we're all in the same kind of situation. There is a difference between Boise State and us. We do not raise our money based upon priority seating where you say "I want better seats" and I say. "Well you better give me another $1,000." That's how many athletic departments raise money today. We don't have that luxury because we haven't created the fan base or we don't have the people competing for tickets, which in turn drive the price of the ticket up. That's our challenge; the work we are doing is truly philanthropic development work trying to engage people to give for the right reasons. To give back to an institution that was good to them and to provide the opportunity for a young person to go to school.
VandalVenue.com: What group typically provides the majority of the funding corporate or individual?
Jim: We have very little corporate support. If we have any corporate support it would come through the avenue of corporate sales such as signage in the dome, signage in Martin Stadium, advertising in game programs and radio/television when we sell that inventory. But in terms of a corporation saying we're going to give you 10,000 a year for the VSF no they don't do that. Many of these corporations support the academic side and go a great job there and we're very proud of that but they don't have to be a good community partner with Idaho because they are not in our community. Name a corporate structure in Moscow? See what I mean?
VandalVenue.com: Of individual donors what age group typically accounts for the largest percentage of donations?
Jim: I can't answer that exactly but probably 2/3 of our gifts come from people 30 to 50 years old. The challenge for us is most of these donors don't live in Moscow they are located over 300 miles away.
VandalVenue.com: Does contributing to the VSF go toward infrastructure improvements as well as funding student-athlete scholarships?
Jim: As far as the VSF goes, Vandal Boosters Inc. is still a Non-profit organization. It is still there; it hasn't gone away, all we've done is basically given our membership campaign a name that is more descriptive of where the money goes and who it supports. The VSF goes toward paying 100 percent of all 180 plus scholarships. I can't remember exactly but 97 to 98 percent of the donated money goes directly to scholarships. Our overhead is very, very small. It goes for such items as postage, printing of brochures and those types of things that are needed to do the business of the organization. So, for a non-profit organization, it is absolutely phenomenal how much we do with very little overhead.
VandalVenue.com: What are the monetary goals of the VSF/VAC and where do we currently stand?
Jim: Our scholarship goal is 1.5 million dollars. Our goal is to fully fund all of the scholarships. We're not there yet. We're trying to get to 1.1 million this year as our pledge drive goal. We need to quit talking about the money per se, and talk about new memberships. We can't control how much money you give us but we can sit down with you and say Vandal88 we need you to "get in the game". Look at all these different gift club levels, where do you want to be? We can control whether or not we are asking, but we can't control how much you say you are going to do. We want our focus back on getting people involved and let people make up their own mind on how much they want to give. We have some people that give us $25 and we have others that give us $1,000 every single dollar can and will make a difference.
VandalVenue.com: Do you feel the past football season will have an impact on donations/season ticket sales?
Jim: I think it will have an impact on our pledge increases. We are typically growing at about 4 to 7 percent a year. I wouldn't be surprised if we don't stay relatively the same and I don't anticipate a huge drop because I think we've got some pretty faithful people and once again if your fund raising is based on priority seating you might have a pretty tough sell. When you're really bad in football or basketball and people no longer want to go to the games, donors begin to ask themselves "Why do I want to give money because I'm not going to keep my seats". That's not as big of an impact for us because of that very reason. You guys give and you don't go to every game, you can't, you live 6 hours away. We have lots of people like that. That's why we wouldn't be impacted as much as a Boise State if they had a 1 and 10 season.
VandalVenue.com: Who and what numbers do people need to call to donate?
Jim: They can call the VSF office and we will have the staff person in charge of their area contact them. Here are the people. Willie Alderson his phone number is (208)-885-0230 California and all of Oregon and Western Washington. Pete Isakson does North Idaho (Grangeville north) and all of Eastern Washington. His number is 208-885-0258. I [Jim Senter] have Southern Idaho (Riggins south) and all the rest of the United States. My number is (208)-885-0252 in Moscow and 208-364-4027 in Boise.