[Article by Tomahawk Nation reader. Opinions expressed may not be those of TomahawkNation.com ]
(Disclosure: I do not work for the Boosters. I am just a passionate FSU fan who wants to see their school compete and succeed at the highest levels.)
Many of you are familiar with the letter I sent to the FSU Boosters earlier this year. For those of you who are not, it can be found here http://www.tomahawknation.com/2009/10/11/1080133/my-letter-to-the-boosters. Long story short, I vowed to give up my football season tickets and not contribute any more money to the Boosters (I've been a season ticket holder and Booster for 10 years, since my graduation in 1999), unless some sort of definitive announcement regarding Bobby Bowden's future was made this year.
To say that a lot has happened since this letter was sent is an understatement. Most importantly, a definitive announcement was made about Bobby Bowden, allowing us to finally move forward as a program onto what I believe will be bigger and brighter days than we've seen in the past 9 years. I wanted to give everyone an update and also ask everyone to consider joining the Boosters to pledge financial support to the Athletic programs of FSU, so that it one day may be on par with some of the top programs in the country.
Along with another fellow TN member (RaysnNoles), I had lunch with the Boosters Director of Development for the Tampa area shortly after I sent that letter. He gave us some eye-opening statistics about the current state of affairs of our Booster program that I found both alarming and depressing. For instance, consider the following:
- In 1999, we had roughly 19,000 Boosters
- In 2009, we have roughly 15,000 Boosters
- NC State has over 20,000 Boosters...we need to step up our grassroots efforts to be better than that
- If about 20% of our living alumni base gave at the minimum level ($60) we would be incredible wealthy
The decline in Boosters over the past 10 years may have to do with their focus on the Dynasty Campaign and Legacy Campaign. They brought in large gifts, but the Boosters focused less on the foundation of our operations which is as many people as possible giving to the Annual Fund at whatever level they can afford.
I think what surprised me the most was the overall low level of Boosters that a school of our stature has, currently 15,000 (well, I guess 15,050 based on the most recent reports). I (mistakenly) assumed that in order to purchase season tickets, one must first be a Booster (I think this is the case at some schools). So I'm thinking we have upwards of 60,000+ Boosters...I guess this was wishful thinking on my part.
I like the recent reports I'm hearing about record numbers of Boosters signing up since the Bowden retirement announcement. That is encouraging, but we need more. As stated above, if 20% of our living alumni base gave only $60 per year, we'd be incredibly wealthy. I know times are tough, but $60 is not that much. There are even discounts for current students and recent alumni. Information about the Boosters can be found here: http://seminole-boosters.fsu.edu/Community/Page.aspx?pid=520&srcid=223. And I know writing this letter to the couple thousand or so people who follow this site won't all of sudden start a surge in donations, but it is a start.
Bud talks all the time about the ridiculous resources that schools like Alabama have in terms of financial support. Granted, I don't think we could ever reach their status in terms of Alumni support given that they are pretty much the only game in town in Alabama (Auburn aside), and in Florida we have to compete with the likes of UF, UM, and even USF and UCF to a lesser extent, not to mention pro teams that people may support in lieu of college teams. But, I do think with the new regime in charge it is an excellent opportunity to be a part of building a new Dynasty here at FSU. We all want the best for our football team and other athletic programs...well, it starts with us, the fans. We need to show our support financially, not just emotionally. Even if you can't be there in person to support the team on Saturdays, I implore you to at least try to give the minimum Booster amount of $60. And tell your friends. Before you know it, we may be swimming in cash and not that far behind UF in terms of financial resources. At least that is my hope...