The Western Washington University Men’s Rugby Alumni Association is a group which fosters a community of former collegiate rugby players, who in turn provide support to the current WWU rugby team through fundraising, scholarships, and programs. As an IRS qualified non profit, the Western Rugby alumni rely primarily on membership involvement and fundraising for their sustainability.
The Rugby Alums had one main goal: more alumni engagement. Additionally, Madak and the Rugby Alumni faced a unique challenge with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of their fundraising goals have traditionally been met through in person events, like auctions and dinners. Our strategy was to take the focus to digital events and online strategies for engagement.
We created several value added features for the WWU Rugby Alumni website, including a member’s only platform featuring a photo archive of past teams, and topical insider news about the current WWU rugby team. Subscriptions to this members only area became a source of revenue for the Association, which we advertised through blogs, social media, and digital ads.
After rolling out a revamped membership area of the website, we put together a digital auction event for members. Traditionally, the Alums have presented their annual auction as an in-person event, however due to the COVID pandemic, this was impossible. We set up a live stream from the Madak office in Stanwood to host the event and auction items such as event tickets, travel packages, merchandise, and the opportunity to travel with the team. Within 2 hours we raised approximately $65k, and with the success of the digital auction, the Alumni Association is making plans to incorporate streaming into future hybrid auctions.