Monday, April 19, 2010

The battle for your wrestling dollar.

“Brother, can you spare a dime?” That iconic song from the Great Depression might just be the theme for American wrestling in the 21st century.

I’ve earned my living in the direct marketing business for about 30 years. For the last 20 I’ve owned my own consulting business. I’ve helped companies sell you magazines, pizza, jewelry and cell phones. I’ve also gotten you to donate to several worthwhile non-profit organizations.

Fund raising is a tough business. You have to battle for every dollar and – frankly - most wrestling organizations are pretty wimpy at it. Over the years I’ve contributed to individual Olympic wrestlers, national organizations and schools trying to save their programs. The associations I’ve built through this blog have also put me on a number of wrestling-related solicitation lists. Folks – you’ve got to work harder – get tougher.

Rule one is “keep asking”. It’s a fact that the top 15 – 20% of your past donors will donate 80% of the money to a new or follow-up campaign. Roughly 15% will come from the rest of the past donors and 5% or less will come from new donors. BUT – those past donors won’t give anything IF YOU DON’T ASK. Of the organizations that I’ve supported, only Cal State Fullerton and Save Oregon Wrestling have ever asked me directly for a second donation. Come on – ask me again. I know from years of research that if you get a second donation from me, I am twice as likely to donate a third time.

Speak directly to me, tell me a good story and then “make the ask”. People don’t give to causes or organizations. One person gives to another person. Last week I received an attempt to get me to attend a fund raiser for a local wrestling club. I cringed. There was no letter – just a reservation form. They gave me no reason to attend. It was a lot like going to the middle of the mat, getting into your stance and then hoping that your opponent falls to his back.

Use all of your weapons. How successful are wrestlers who can only execute an outside single to get a takedown? Take a guess why charities continue to tick you off by calling you at home. BECAUSE IT WORKS! Telephone calls have a higher return on investment than any other fund raising method. In general, wrestling relies far too much on the internet to raise money. Yes – it’s cheap and should be a part of your arsenal – but don’t use it exclusively.

What does the Republican National Committee have in common with the Democratic National Committee? The NRA with the World Wildlife Fund? And those four with US Olympic Committee? All use direct mail as a primary fund raising medium. Get your story down on paper and tell it to me just as if we’re sitting across from each other having coffee. Motivate me to give.

Be proactive. Yes - emergency needs will draw your best response, but, you must have a regular plan that meets your needs. Don’t wait until the elimination announcement comes before you try to raise the money to save the program. If you’re a coach, wrestler, alumnus or fan of a particular college team – just assume that your team is on the chopping block and start raising the money now. Start a campaign to endow a scholarship or the head coach’s salary. Buy the team a van or new mats. Show the administration that important people (donors) care about wrestling and you’ll reduce your chances of being dropped.

It isn’t all bad. Beat the Streets has come up with two disparate, but powerful, concepts to market their annual fund raising gala. First, they are holding it on the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid and honoring wrestlers who have served our country. Then they are holding the “Battle on the Intrepid” – a series of “undercard” matches featuring young Beat the Streets athletes and some of America’s top freestyle and Greco Roman wrestlers – followed by the “Main Event”.

Take a guess – what two athletes would most American fans want to see face each other? Bingo! Brent Metcalf and Darrion Caldwell will do battle as the highlight of the evening. It’s a stroke of genius by the organizers and a credit to these two young men that they are willing to participate. Here’s a link to make your reservation. If you can’t be there you can still make a donation at the site.

4 comments:

PhilCrispin0626清民 said...

向小善致敬,它使人生旅程較為平順。......................................................

惠IdellA_Fecteau1231蘋 said...

生活盡可低,志氣當高潔..............................

o0625TaylorJ_Duraz said...

快樂不需要理由-及時行樂 ....................................................

Riot Sports Marketing said...

Fantastic post Jim! Coaches do need to understand the importance as well as the mechanics of real fundraising vs. selling cookies.