This summer will feature the inaugural Erk Russell Fund Donors’ Choice Weekend! Should it be called that? What are supporters going to do during the weekend? Where are they going to do it? These are details which must be decided and, at most institutions, these decisions are made by a very small group of staff members. Less than 10 people, who are ingrained in the world of athletics daily, decide what thousands of donors would like to do. Not at Georgia Southern, not in Jared Benko‘s Athletic Department – we are letting the people who will actually be participating decide.
“We decided to put together a weekend for all of our Erk Russell Fund donors to enjoy and, as we started thinking about what that could look like, we realized we should not be the ones who make those choices,” said Erick Reasoner, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development and head of the Athletic Foundation. “It didn’t make sense to us that we would decide what other people think are cool, unique experiences when we are in the environment every day. We needed to go to the people this is designed to thank – our generous donors.”
Whatever is decided by the donors, one thing is set and certain – the weekend will be open for all Erk Russell Fund members to attend. Jared Benko has put an emphasis on making sure donors of all levels feel appreciated and added, “This is going to be a really fun weekend thanking all of our donors who support scholarships for our student-athletes by giving to the Erk Russell Fund. These supporters are helping provide scholarships for all 17 sports, so we will also be sure to include multiple sports for this weekend.”
Over the coming weeks, the Athletic Foundation social media accounts will post polls with different questions to shape the weekend. All current Erk Russell Fund donors will also receive an email with a link to the survey with the same questions so they can answer them all at once.
Since there is no way to verify whether voting on social media is done by a donor or not, the survey responses will be weighted a little more than the social media votes.
“Surveys always seem to be sent out on the back-end of events, but that is too late, we want to listen to the people this weekend is catering to,” said David Cutler, Associate Director of Development. “We will still ask for opinions throughout the weekend because we are constantly looking to improve, but why start something we have never done by guessing at what our donors want?”
So, Eagle Nation, the decisions are yours. Let us know what you want and be on the lookout for chances to vote! To participate, please follow on Twitter @GSUAF, on Instagram @gsathletics_af and on Facebook @GSUAF. To participate in this weekend, donors must be Erk Russell Fund members as of June 30, 2021. For anyone who is currently not an Erk Russell Fund donor and interested in joining today, membership starts at just $60/year and can even be set up monthly for just $5/month. To join today, visit Give.GSEagles.com or contact David Cutler at 912-478-8527.
Erk Russell Fund donors, we will see you at…well…where you decide!