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 that's what the department needs 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 membership drive goal. We need to quit talking about the money per se and talk about new members. We can't control how much money you give us but we can sit down with you and say Vandal88 we need your help. 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. If we can get the average [donation] up to the Coaches Club level of $250 we would be delighted.
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. Once again if your fund raising is based on priority seating a bad season could have a significant impact. When you're really bad in football or basketball and people no longer want to go to the games their perception is why do I want to give money because I'm not going to keep my seats. That's why we wouldn't be impacted as much as a Boise State if they had a 1 and 10 season. The prevailing thought from individuals is "I'll buy tickets for the one game that I am interested in and sit in the General Admission section."
VandalVenue.com: Are any new plans for fund raising that are different than past methods?
Jim:We're trying to back away from all of the special events we do because those special events take a large portion of our time yet only account for a small percentage of generated revenue. Our National Board of Directors are working with an idea from President Bob Yuditsky at trying build a home with donated materials. Get the land donated or the lot and have a contractor build a home and sell it back at market value. It's a creative idea, if you own a carpet center and you are a Vandal fan can you carpet this for us? So we'll give you the credit and advertising for say $10,000 worth or carpeting but maybe to you [Vandal88] it's a real cost of $5,000 to you. We take all these pieces that when by themselves really don't have any value then you put them in a home and suddenly the $10,000 worth of carpet is now worth $15,000 because it's in a home that someone wants to buy. We're going to change the way we do fund drives. First of all, we're going to stop calling it a fund drive and start calling it a membership campaign. People want to be involved, people want to be members they're not excited about being part of a fund drive because of the connotations that brings up but the emphasis is on memberships, memberships, and memberships. We're working on our game plan on how we are going to get that done. On the Friday night before the first football game we're going to have a Vandal Volunteer Gala. Anybody that has been making calls and solidifying new memberships we're going to invite. The event will center around an auction using fake money called Vandal Bucks. Say you've raised $7,000 dollars and you show up at the party. We will have the same or more cash in Vandal Bucks or even more if you made any bonuses. We're going to have things there that you can buy with the Vandal Bucks such as autographed memorabilia or a trip with the team on the charter. Were going to try to have some fun with that and appropriately thank the people involved and we'll have everyone together because most of those people are going to work next year's membership campaign. Then the next day we will kick off the annual renewal campaign. The most significant way we are going to grow is to engage more people in the process. Different people bring with them a different sphere of influence.
VandalVenue.com: What are the different donation levels and what are the different payment methods? Also, a few of our viewers have inquired about monthly payments charged to a Debit/Credit card is this currently available?
Jim:We run all financial transactions though the University of Idaho Foundation. They will not and are not set up to do withdrawals from people's checking accounts as in a debit card situation. We are setup to do credit card payments, and we are only accepting Visa and Mastercard. Basically we can bill you anyway you want to be billed. Obviously the easiest thing for us to do is to charge your credit card whenever you tell us based on your pledge. If you tell us to bill you monthly we'll bill your credit card like clockwork and it will show up on your bill every month. We can send you a computer generated (bill) pledge reminder but this involves more staff and overhead costs. You can give any amount you want but the first gift club level starts at $100. Of the approximate 2500 VSF members about 800 or so are below the $100 level in various denominations 10, 25, 50 or 75 dollars.
VandalVenue.com: Can you explain the under 30 club?
Jim:The Under Thirty club is something the national board started in 1991. What they were looking for was a way to engage the younger alumni in the gift giving process. If you are under 30 years old you pay up to half of the coaches club price [$250] and get credit as a coaches club member. You'll get your name in the game program, the discount card, decal and so on. Let's say you are 27 right now. You can keep giving that $125 until you are 30. If a couple donated together they can take the earliest of the birthdays.
VandalVenue.com: If I were a new donor pledging a yearly donation, how would you recommend the money be allocated between the VSF and VAC?
Jim:We want your money to go where you want it to go. This idea extends for season ticket sales and the Twelfth Man program. In the case of season tickets say you bought 2 season tickets and only kept the Boise State tickets and sent the rest back to us. We will give you a gift credit for the unused tickets. Obviously we have to receive those other tickets before the games. The two biggest things we are working on right now are the VSF and the VAC. You just have to say I want to do the VSF or I want to do the VAC. The VAC gift is not treated as an annual gift and you don't get the same kind of recognition as a VSF donation. The VAC is treated as a capital campaign and will receive credit at the close of the campaign. If someone says I've got $100 to give and they asked us where do we want the money to go I'd say first of all we need them to join the VSF and become a member. It is imperative for us to build our base of donors to pay the bills.
VandalVenue.com: For existing donors, other than increasing their donation amount, how can they help?
Jim:Buy tickets, preferably season tickets. We've got to show the WAC and other's we are making progress. Go to games! We're going to be faced with the fact that you can't just buy tickets any more folks; you have to go to the games. This is a significant issue with the proposed new membership criteria.
VandalVenue.com: Who and what numbers do people need to call to donate?
Jim:They can call the VSF office and they will have the person in charge of that area contact you. What I encourage people to do is call the person in charge of that area. Willie Alderson is in charge of California and all of Oregon and Western Washington. His number is 1-208-885-0230. Pete Isakson does North Idaho (Grangeville north) and all of Eastern Washington. His number is 1-208-885-0258. I [Jim Senter] have Southern Idaho (Riggins south) and all the rest of the United States. My number in Moscow is 1-208-885-0252 or the UI Boise Center number is 1-208-364-4027.