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ASU: Strategic Data Management

How Arizona State University Increased their Donor Base and Fundraising Revenue Exponentially through Strategic Data Management, Integration, and Visualization

Like most universities, Arizona State University relies on engagement with and revenue from a passionate donor base to meet and exceed financial goals to build new facilities, create endowments, fund special programs, and much more.

Recognizing both a need and opportunity, ASU worked with SSB and utilized the power of the Microsoft Azure Cloud to execute a comprehensive, data-driven approach to becoming more efficient and effective in running the Sun Devil Club, their primary athletic fan group.  The goals of the program were:

  • Full integration of data between Alumni Association and Athletic Department.
  • All potential donors in a clean database, enabling:
    • Campus-wide coordination through Salesforce and disparate databases
    • Better segmentation and wealth screening of alumni, donors, ticket holders, and former athletes in order to better target the best targets and make the right asks
    • Elimination of repetitive asks and communications in the same timeframe
    • Organization-wide accountability

One of the strategies was to screen for donors contacted more than five times in one year who gave only what ticket purchase required.

  • They found these 50 people were eating up donor officer time and producing no increase in donation level, despite the investment of significant time
  • With these findings, ASU reassigned donors to a ticket service representative, increasing donor officer productivity dramatically

The results are staggering, and ASU is now expanding to the Alumni Association and other fundraising groups on campus to integrate and better manage those efforts.

Annual Fundraising Pledged

  • 2011 – $12 million
  • 2012 – $17 million
  • 2014 – $49 million
  • 2015 – $86 million


Sun Devil Club Members 

  • 2011 – 7,800
  • 2013 -15,000
  • 2016 -16,800



  • 2011 – $3.5 million
  • 2012 – $8 million
  • 2013 – $13.5 million
  • 2016 – $30 million

SSB Powers ASU Fundraising Growth

Great story by Michael Smith in this week’s Sports Business Journal details the awesome growth in Sun Devil Club membership and donation totals at Arizona State. SSB is proud to play a part in facilitating growth through providing a true look at business health and a 360-degree perspective of audiences for ASU, 14 other Power 5 schools, two conferences and an additional 35 professional sports leagues and teams.

Link (Requires SBJ Subscription):

DCPA: Using Data to Increase Patron Engagement and Drive Revenue



After 40 years showcasing hundreds of Broadway hits, premieres and blockbuster musicals including Disney’s The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera and The Book of Mormon, The Denver Center ( found itself in possession of a massive database of more than 750,000 patrons, but it lacked a detailed understanding of its customers.


To help DCPA, SSB built a custom web application and created a tool that integrates third party data into the DCPA’s customer database. Known as Central Intelligence, the SSB platform allows the DCPA to identify the most likely patrons for each campaign and increase engagement.


The Denver Center’s email marketing campaign to lapsed patrons achieved a 738% ROI, including a 210% click-through rate increase, a decrease in opt-outs of 95%, and a 90% decrease in spam complaints.


“We target important customer sub-groups within our overall patron database,” said Jennifer Nealson, Chief Marketing Officer for the Denver Center. “Our goal is to be relevant to every individual.”

Arizona State and the need for a Centralized Data Warehouse

Arizona State University

The Challenge

Prior to working with SSB, Arizona State University’s central database system was segmented, causing departments to act independently of one another and preventing key administrators from obtaining important data in a timely manner.

* Athletics and fundraising departments could not access ticket sales or donor data to drive marketing and sales decisions.

* There was no established approach for identifying and interacting with customers and donors, resulting in different     departments’ contacting the same customers.

The Results

Arizona State University has implemented a full-scale infrastructure overhaul, allowing departments to effectively market to target audiences based on real-time data.

Efficient and effective reporting: SSB Central Intelligence provided the centralized data warehouse that streamlined the season-ticket renewal process by eliminating the multiple database systems that customers were required to log into (one to purchase tickets and another to make a required donation to the athletics department).

This resulted in a 400 percent online football season ticket renewal rate increase in 2013.

Arizona State University can now execute segmented and customized phone, email and direct mail campaigns to ticket holders and donors, providing a more efficient process of managing existing customer relationships.

Demand pricing: SSB created real-time reporting dashboards to help key administrators monitor ticket sales in real time and make decisions in a timely manner. For example, ASU’s associate athletic director for revenue was able to monitor ticket sales for an upcoming football game from his iPad, remotely from his daughter’s soccer game. Based on the data being recorded, he was able to adjust the number of available tickets and prices in order to match demand.

Real-time analysis of the executive summary reports resulted in more than $350,000 incremental revenue in 2013.

Quality fan engagement: SSB created a real-time snapshot of key performance indicators, such as renewal percentages and email subscription statuses, allowing Arizona State University to effectively follow up with customers regarding account settings and changes, thus providing a better relationship-centered customer service initiative.

Arizona State University was able to match 35 percent of ticket purchases with Advance ID, and 36 percent with ASU Affiliate ID based on revised customer profiles.

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