18.Feb.2010 Beavers AD Report: "We Want Your Money; No We Don't"

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Feb. 17, 2010

We’re a few weeks into the annual fund drive that raises resources to support our student-athletes, and I’m encouraged with the results so far. Launched February 1, this year’s Beaver Athletic Student Fund (BASF) campaign is serving as our springboard to double our donor base by 2012.

You’ve heard it from me before. We’ve begun an all-out effort to grow our donor base from roughly 6,000-where it’s hovered for the last several years-to 12,000. Our “Expanding Beaver Nation—12,000 Strong by 2012” campaign is officially under way with volunteers making calls for renewals and new donors.

Although it’s still early in this two-month effort, I can see that many in Beaver Nation are hearing the message and responding. Momentum is on the rise. Last year at this time, we had 2,100 donors. This year our numbers already tally 2,300 at the same point. Additionally, our stats show that we have gained 170 new donors in the early stages of this year’s fund-raising drive.

http://www.osubeavers.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/021710aab.html

So there I stood on the brink of becoming the latest BASF donator, one of the “12,000 needed by 2012” when…Bobby D’s greedy palm stood in my path and bitch slapped me across the nose. Apparently my $10, $20, $30, $35, or $39 donation is not enough. No, the “minimum accepted online donation is $40”!  So get this, gentlemen, an AD who has cried and begged for money the past two seasons, is not willing to accept my donation of $39.99. Halt! He needs that extra penny or the transaction is not worth his time.

First of all, if I am running a fundraiser, and I truly need money, I am accepting any donation above breaking even, and I believe it costs 2% to process a credit card transaction. In the case of my 10 dollars, that would be $0.20, leaving the BASF folks with a net profit of $9.80 or 4900% markup and a 98% gross margin. I think any business in America would be thrilled with those numbers in a time of prosperity, yet Bob Decarolis and the OSU athletic department find those numbers offensive, even in this time of recession.

So what if I open my wallets and donate $39.99? That’s a $0.80 processing fee, leaving $39.19 to the athletic department. My cursory knowledge of high finance should be enough to figure out this calculation as well. Yes! That is a 4,900% markup and a 98% gross margin.

And what about the $40 donation that Bob insists on? Well, as you can imagine, that is $40-.80=$39.20 or a 4,900.00% markup and 98% gross margin.

That is right folks, since 2% is a ratio (2/100), there is actually equal markup on the higher donation and the same exact gross margin. Which in short suggests that the Beavers AD is more interested in gouging your wallet than getting your donation for all important facilities, scholarships, and upgrades.

What is likely going on here is probably not so calculated. Bob D probably thinks that someone who can definitely afford $10 or $39 is in the same economic class as someone who can afford $40, and he is right, but what he’s failed to understand (yet again) is that we’re in a recession and $40 is someone’s cable bill, gas, or groceries, where as $10 is much easier to part with. Why not just open the donation process to everyone? Is two people donating $20 not the same as one person donating $40?

I’m a huge supporter of Bobby D when it comes to the hiring process, but I view this latest campaign as yet another marketing nightmare, missed opportunity, and bottom line a turn-off for this particular Beaver. Bob could have had my $10, $20, or even $25, but he’s not getting my $40.

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  • BeavGirl says:
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    I’m not seeing where it says the minimum is $40.

    Too bad really. Their prime target will be young, new alums who are likely poor and jobless. 40 bucks is fairly significant for alums in their 20s (or 30s) trying to pay off student loans/live on their own, etc. I’m sure there are lots of fans who would love to donate but do not have the funds to do it.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      “I’m not seeing where it says the minimum is $40.”

      BeavGirl, it’s not in the AD report, but if you follow the links and try to pay they won’t take less than 40.

    • BeaverFan says:
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      Wow, what a surprise that a big “fan” like yourself was a) not already a donor, but b) considers $40 too much to give.

    • JackBeav says:
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      Yeah, anyone who thinks $40 is chump change is too snooty for their own good.

      Bobby D should hire an election campaign manager for some consulting.

      The proclivity for giving is more likely to increase when no lower limits are set. The person who gives $20 a shot is likely to give more than the person who gives $100 because the higher amount represents more of an investment which might need more planning to accommodate the contributor’s finances. It also represents an illusion of entitlement to the benefactor who gives more at first… which leads to snooty head-up-buttedness.

      There was a good reason the presidential campaign that begged $1, $2, $5… ‘whatever you can afford’ from 20 million people made a bunch more money than the $20K-a-plate dinner crowd.

  • blakesgotanewface says:
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    They would probably take any amount if you called to donate, the problem with not setting a lower limit is that you get a lot of people donating very small amounts – the credit card fee is only part of the cost of processing donations. You also have someone that has to generate receipts, track this stuff, etc. They probably just set it at $40 because they have a projection somewhere based on that number as the average donation. I think it’s probably less nasty in reality than it might seem. They might even be willing to lower it to $20 if you asked them to.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      It seems backwards to ask a benefactor to have to haggle the beneficiary to ask for less. I mean, that is just wrong.

      Also,

      1. “You also have someone that has to generate receipts, track this stuff, etc.”

      You have that at any price and whether it’s done online or on the phone. If they have to hire one more student at 6$ an hour to process 10,000 receipts at 4900% markup I think they’d be doing okay still. They are a university with cheap labor and even kids looking for “internships” available all around them.

      2. Problem with not setting a lower limit is that you get a lot of people donating very small amounts.

      How is that a problem?

      They’d raise more money.

    • BeavGirl says:
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      “They might even be willing to lower it to $20 if you asked them to.”

      I feel like people will see the 40 limit and pass it up. Most people aren’t going to fight to give up their money.

      • angrybeaver says:
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        Yes, that’s exactly what I did. Well, after getting angry about it and blogging, first, of course. 😉

  • blakesgotanewface says:
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    It’s easier for small organizations with no staff to raise money by accepting fewer donations at higher amounts than a lot of donations at low amounts. The amount of energy and time that goes into a fundraising drive is incredible, speaking from experience.

    I’m not saying you should have to fight or haggle to give them your money, I’m just saying that if you wanted to give them money, they would probably take it if you made one-on-one contact rather than going through a system they’ve obviously set up for efficiency’s sake.

    • blakesgotanewface says:
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      Also, managing the cheap/free labor (internships) is a huge pain in the ass. You get what you pay for with these students.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      Blake, not sure why you’re comparing your one man crew to a university of 20,000 students with a huge administrative staff and internships/cheap labor all around.

      Plus it’s just terrible public relations. It alienates fans who want to donate to the cause and can’t afford it. It comes off wrong.

      • blakesgotanewface says:
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        Did you write to them and tell them this? Maybe the don’t think 40 bucks is a lot

      • angrybeaver says:
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        Then that is simply not being in touch with reality. I thought everyone knew Oregon has high unemployment and the U.S. as a whole has been in a recession for going on 3 years. Really there is no excuse for this, or if there is a good reason, I haven’t heard it yet.

        Maybe I’ll write Bobby D and ask him what the logic is here.

        • blakesgotanewface says:
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          People don’t put a lot of thought into things sometimes, so there might be a simple explanation. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially in academia, where their motivations are (usually) well-intentioned.

  • angrybeaver says:
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    I just wrote Bob D an email asking him to explain it. If he responds I’ll post our correspondence and his explanation.

  • Beavocalypse says:
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    Do you really think Decareless will really respond to you? lately all the asshole does is pop off to his fan base with little in the way of apology. Fuck you. Bob….and here’s my 40 spot…God it sucks being a fan. 🙂

    • angrybeaver says:
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      I have no idea if he will; I’ve never written the guy before.

    • JackBeav says:
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      Word it without emotion and send a $20 check.

      Explain that you could find no way to pay this amount other than to send it via snail-mail… and ask him to relay this problem to the chair of the campaign committee. Oh… and ask for a receipt to be mailed back. If you can find about four others to do the same, you can send all the checks in one envelope and have everyone sign the letter.

      I’ve been looking for a printable form on the OSU site, and it’s not easy to find. Anyone know where it is?

      Do we even have a capital campaign committee for BASF or other capital solicitations? I hadn’t thought of that before. It would be a mistake for Bobby D to head up a capital solicitation campaign on a couple levels.

      The $40 limit reminds me a lot of ‘membership’ for Oregon Public Broadcasting. I think the current level is $35. But I gave in a variety of ways other than the ‘suggested’ methods before I was able to afford a ‘membership’ that I could not care less about. My first gift to them was a $14 check, and they sent me a cool decal for my effort.

      I usually re-gift their ‘membership’ bribes, but I still have an OPB decal on my car.

      • JackBeav says:
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        Working with OPB’s online contribution form I can give less than the $35 ‘membership’ total with anonymity. I just gave them $5 on my credit card.

      • angrybeaver says:
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        Yeah, I mean honestly I could probably afford to give them a couple hundred dollars before feeling it, but in these times I simply don’t want to do that. I want to give a small amount that I wouldn’t feel in the least. That they require 40$ turned me off, so even if they change it I don’t know if I’d donate. It’s snobby and presumptive and also a sly way to persuade/entice people to donate more than they truly want.

        • angrybeaver says:
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          But again, maybe Bob has a legit explanation. I haven’t heard back from him yet!

  • JackBeav says:
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    I can tell you from work at another non-profit that there was material automatically generated to thank the contributor while asking for more. I was never a fan of the continued sales pitch method of solicitation via what is just junk mail in my box. In an age of email and other technologies there are many more ways to get the word out without burdening the post office further.

    We had a $10 minimum contribution, and the public sector campaign usually only totaled about 20-25% of total contributions. The lower limit was set to discourage the public perception that we would take kids’ lunch money if offered. It was more a marketing number than it was anything else.

    Although there is a cost for any fraud, bounced checks, and other financial liabilities, the cost should not be so much to warrant a level so high.

    • JackBeav says:
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      blake also has a good reason up above. Even the best intentions can be stupid or ignorant.

      Take, for instance, the MLM schemes out there. There are a number who claim to be providing a service or product superior to what’s offered. And some are. But you will rarely find one who will allow people within their ‘chain’ to set up a virtual storefront. In fact, many forbid it. It’s all about the pyramid to the people in the upchain. So the entry level people are fed a lie to make them continue what is a horrible marketing plan.

      It’s not necessarily the fault of the person looking to do something on the side, but they should invest their money in a marketing course before they enter that world.

      On the flip side, there’s retail marketing. You either present exclusivity or availability. Last I checked, the retail giants in the world don’t subscribe to the exclusivity label.

  • blakesgotanewface says:
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    You should send them a Ducks helmet filled with pennies

  • Mamma Machado says:
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    You can send $40 my way. I’ll send you a Beaverblitz totebag and give you a handjob behind Reser.

  • Mamma Machado says:
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    You can do it in my end zone

  • […] } Bob De Carolis responds to my concern over a $40 minimum donation: Angry, sorry for the tardy response. Was out of town and delegated this to staff but we […]

  • angrybeaver says:
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    Found this:

    https://osufoundation.org/giving/online_gift.shtml

    You can donate to the BASF online, avoiding the whole “send a check” thing. Weird that Bob D did not know this option existed.

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