Between 2012 and 2016, Mercer University Athletics (NCAA Division I member of the Southern Conference) experienced success on the field, expanded sport offerings, and achieved in the classroom. Building the Bear delves into the success of the Mercer Athletic Foundation - the fundraising arm of the Mercer Athletic Department charged with supporting 16 sport programs.
Topics covered include setting priorities and goals, developing programming, major gift strategies, donor cultivation and stewardship, drafting an annual calendar, marketing a fundraising operation and coordinating special events. One unique aspect of this read is the thinking behind football specific programming which came about with the return of Division I FCS football to Mercer's campus in 2013.
Written by Brian Gerrity, the Mercer Athletic Foundation Executive Director and Senior Associate Athletic Director, Building the Bear fills the gap between the classroom and workplace. Written in part to provide a resource for young development professionals, this is a must read for aspiring collegiate athletic administrators and sports management undergraduate and graduate students. This read is a combination of text and infographics and is a real-world example of the power of strategic thinking.
Building the Bear uses real life examples and actual strategies employed to raise funds at the Division I level. Part textbook and part case study, this read is concise, thoughtful, and packed with real world examples of the methodology behind athletic development. Building the Bear covers the steps taken to build a mid-major fundraising arm from a sleepy annual fund to a dynamic fundraising arm.