What are Your Secrets to Success…? Donors

February 14th, 2018 | by Jake Hirshman
What are Your Secrets to Success…? Donors


[Ed.: “What are your secrets to success…” is a series written for College AD by the co-author of 20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student-Athletes Who Won’t Go Pro, Jake Hirshman.]

Many know and understand the differences in revenues and monetary support for athletic departments across the country. Every athletic department has different priorities in how they spend their money, but across the board, student-athlete development departments have very strict and limited budgets. When budgets are sore subjects and squeezed, how can budget issues be solved? Simple, find donors that are passionate about student-athlete development. Development staff are constantly talking with donors or developing new programs. Why not create a campaign that raises funds to help student-athletes for the rest of their life?

New facilities are great, and new uniforms are nice, but what is most important about a student-athlete experience is their development in preparing them for the real world.

As a development office within an athletic department, don’t you think you could find a passionate donor that cares about helping make the student-athletes more successful off the field so that they can become better people that represent the university well once they graduate? The more a student-athlete feels as if the help they received contributed to their success as alumni, the more inclined they will be to give back for the same reason. It ultimately becomes a recurring cycle. And this cycle will become exponentially bigger as years progress and more student-athlete alumni give back for the extra help they received.

Generally, the student-athlete development departments that are extremely well run and successful, have the staff and the budget to be able to build what is necessary. Staffing is priority number one. 300 to 900 student-athletes cannot be developed by ONE person, let alone TWO. The more help, the more individualized and impactful the strategies and assistance can be. Once an appropriate staff is in place, direction, budgets, and goals can be set.

Student-athletes are unique and should be treated differently than the typical student. They deserve more than the just the career services on campus to attend to them. They have time demands, and more responsibility, that’s no secret.

With more funds raised by development, donors can help student-athlete development departments with hiring more personnel, starting new programs, and providing more resources for student-athletes when they walk in the door as freshmen.

A campaign to help launch programs such as a freshman transition program, a senior transition program, or a leadership academy could certainly work in raising funds, creating partnerships, and obtaining alumni connections for potential job opportunities.

Find people with passions to help student-athletes off the field, and the sky is the limit!

Jake Hirshman About Jake Hirshman
Jake Hirshman is a former student-athlete at the University of Redlands and Ohio University, and now co-author of “20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student-Athletes Who Won’t Go Pro”. After finishing his undergraduate degree in 3 years, and bouncing back from a career changing injury, Hirshman pursued two masters degrees at Ohio University. One in Sport Sciences and Recreation, and the other as a member of the Sports Administration Program. After leaving Athens, he worked in Player Development for the Seattle Mariners, as a coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks Academy, and as Special Events Coordinator for Major League Baseball’s Arizona Fall League. As a young professional, Hirshman’s goal is to positively impact student-athletes and help prepare them for life after sport.

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