In College Football, Do Big Wins and Losses Immediately Impact Non-Donor Phonathon Results?

Chris Hughes

August 29, 2014

bcs_footballLabor Day weekend marks the opening of the 2014 college football season.  For many colleges and universities in the United States, football Saturdays are some of the most visible days of the entire year and can provide a common rallying opportunity for all alumni, regardless of whether he or she is a big sports fan.

But does a win or loss immediately impact phonathon results?

Several of our regular RuffaloCODY fundraising bloggers have strong affinities to major college football (including one who used to work within collegiate athletics), so we decided to run some stats to find out.

We investigated non-donor calling stats for:

  • 27 games featuring 10 schools representing 5 different conferences that were ranked in last year’s final BCS top 25
  • We identified major wins (excluding bowls) and major losses (excluding bowls) for each of those 10 schools.  Priority for wins and losses was based on a school’s top rivals, opponent’s ranking, and direct impact on conference and national rankings.
  • Stats were run for Sundays during the 2013 college football season (September 1-December 15, 2013), both overall and immediately following the “big wins” and “big losses.”
  • We evaluated 24,277 contacts (conversations), 2,977 pledges and $284,880 total pledge dollars.

Pledge Rate: It seems counterintuitive, but the calling on those Sundays after a loss enjoyed higher pledge rates than the fall average over 75% of the time.  Wins resulted in higher pledge rates over the average pledge rate only 47% of the time.bcs_football

bcs_football2Average Pledge:  While the average pledge is higher after a win, 58% of the time the average gift exceeded the overall fall average gift after a loss.  Only 40% of wins resulted in higher average gift versus the overall fall average.



What does it all mean?

1. Alumni may love their football, but they also can separate the final score on Saturday from the need to support their institution.

2. While the average gift may vary, you’re not going to see a major impact from wins or losses on dollars raised from your non-donors

3. Enjoy the game this weekend and don’t fret about the impact on your phonathon on Sunday.

Co-authored by Josh Robertson and Mike Brucek.

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