The Keene State College Athletic Department is trying a new fundraiser this February and teams are playing to win.

The Athletics Giving Challenge began on Feb. 1, and will continue through the end of the month. According to Keene State College Planned Giving Officer Ken Goebel, there is competition because of the extra prizes involved. The team that has the greatest number of donors who donate five dollars or more will receive a $2,000 prize. In addition, a $2,000 prize will be awarded to the team that has the greatest amount of alumni donors. The alums have to make a minimum donation of five dollars to the team they played for.

“By bringing in the extra prize money, teams have an extra incentive. They will raise money from parents, friends. But then if they are on top of the challenge they will put that extra prize money to their team,” Goebel said.

George Amaru / Art Director

George Amaru / Art Director

Goebel said there are a number of ways that people can donate to the challenge. “Gifts are in person with a check, online with a credit card or right here with a credit card. We will be at the [basketball] games through the rest of the month,” Goebel said.

There are three groups that are major donors to this fundraiser. “The group of people is pretty identifiable,” Goebel said. Alumni who played sports are a major group, and parents of current student athletes. “The third group is a little bit harder to identify but we call it the regional fans. Those are the folks who live here in Keene and in the Monadnock region who are fans of Keene State athletics,” Goebel said.

The athletic department and planning office have been promoting this event in a number of ways. Sports Information Director Abe Osheyack said mailings have been sent to alumni at the end of January. Also, the athletic department has been active promoting it online and in a number of other ways. “There is a splash page that is on that links to a page that explains the challenge. We are promoting it through social media and on our broadcasts of athletic events,” Osheyack said.

So far the event has generated donations. “I’ve been told, at least at the time of this interview, we’ve had donations for every team,” Osheyack said. Osheyack, a 2006 Keene State graduate, has seen the challenge being promoted by his friends who were student athletes on Facebook. “I’ve seen them sharing the link to the website where they can go and donate. So I think it is creating buzz for sure,” Osheyack said.

Men’s Soccer Head Coach Rick Scott said it is key to reach out to alumni. “We are going to reach out to guys and try to do well with this whole fundraiser because I think it is a good idea,” Scott said. He added, “It could help our program not only financially, but we are going to do a special alumni get together in the spring.”

The athletic department and planning office has set a goal on how much money they would like to raise.  “We’ve kind of set a private internal goal to top $20,000 for the teams during this one month. When we have the prize money on top of that it could easily approach $25,000. We’d be very pleased with that,” Goebel said. As of Feb. 2, Goebel said there have been 50 gifts donated.

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