U. Of Tennessee Fundraising Down 25 Percent

February 11, 2013 / Wrestling
Knoxville News Sentinel


Donations to the University of Tennessee athletic department, and the number of people who gifted that money, fell by more than 25 percent in 2012.

The $10 million drop followed coaching shake-ups and a poor performance on the football field — but it also came after years of record giving to the department.

For the last decade, new capital gifts have fueled new building projects.

Those building projects brought new luxury stadium seating.

Those seats delivered even more donations at higher-dollar amounts required from ticket holders who wanted to watch games from a premium perch.

A look at giving to the University of Tennessee Athletic Department since 1998.

It’s a strategy that grew the overall donations — for the tickets fund and capital projects combined — from $13.6 million in 1998 to a high water mark of $46.9 million in 2008.

Last year UT brought in $35.1 million.

“When I started in the fall of ’97, there were four people in the office total and now the office may have 15 or 16 people,” said Bill Myers, the chief financial officer for the athletics department who began his time at UT in the development office.

“Over that time it grew because when you have 10,000 to 12,000 contributors, with four people you just can’t have personal relationships with that number,” he said. “So as you add staff and are able to steward those donors, and have personal interactions with more of them, they’re more likely to contribute.”

Leave a Reply