Poll: Are you currently a member of the Hokie Club?

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The boards are hopping today with discussions about the Hokie Club. The ongoing search for a new athletic director, increasing awareness of Virginia Tech athletics financial information, and this excellent interview of John Ballein by David Teel have brought fundraising and the Hokie Club into the limelight.

So we have a simple question? Are you a member of the Hokie Club?

Are you a member of the Hokie Club?

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For information on the Hokie Club, please visit their web site at www.hokieclub.com

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55 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I was a HC member for many years and was at the Golden Hokie level. This was before football team got good. I had 4 great seats about 7 row up on 40 yard line behind opposing team bench. As we got better more and more people beginning setting there, for example if person next to me had 3 seats suddenly there were 4 people setting there. This happened all the way out our row until we were so squeezed for space it was miserable. I talked to ushers but either they couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything about it. Sent letter to Weaver(waste of time) he never responded. So I took the 4-5 grand I spending there per year and bought a mac daddy tv. Now I watch most all games from home .I eat and drink what I want , go the restroom without waiting , don’t have to fight traffic ect. If I want to go to 1 or 2 games a year I buy good seats on line and I go. I had a Hokie rep call me 1 time in all those years to thank me for my contributions. That is terrible customer service. And I never felt like I got any special benefits for the money I gave anyway. Also never did get any warm fuzzy feeling about Jim Weaver. So this is why I am no longer in the Hokie Club.

  2. Have been a member for many years and used to hear from my Hokie Rep, etc. Have not in years and don’t know who he is.

    Have given in excess of $50,000 and hear little to nothing. I can call if I need something but the organization appears to be in suspension from all that I can see.

    Dave Everett is good and always responds to a problem/call.

    The organization sure needs something. Reminds me of the “We win ten games a season,” syndrome.

    You have ups and downs in everything. Hopefully the new AD will be energetic and revitalize things. He has a tremendous opportunity to achieve because he is not starting from a high level.

    I expect that he will realize that the Hokie Club, while not his direct responsibility, is vital to his success and can assist in getting things moving.

    VT development concentrates on large donors and big dollars. Except that does not fill the stadium or populate the Hokie Club. The organization appears to be suffering from a lack of attention from the top, possibly from the belief that there are bigger fish in the ocean to go after and achieve more $$$.

    I would find a way to do both as you never know who is willing to give until you ask personally. I don’t expect too many people simply mail a large check without personal contact.

  3. I donated money to the Hokie Club and purchased tickets from the late 70s until the first reseating. Then, when the Club could not find records of my giving, I was reseated high up on the “students” side of the field. My wife is unable to climb stairs so we had to stop buying season tickets. I still give, but only at the minimum level. I did go talk with the ticket office but they said that since I had not kept my giving records, they could not help. I told them that they needed to be careful; the fair weather fans would disappear if the team had a few bad years. And that seems to be happening.

  4. Incredible that 51% of the respondents are not HC members!

    The mission of the Hokie Club is athletic fundraising at Virginia Tech. Here’s the HC Mission statement: “The Virginia Tech Athletic Fund, Inc. (VTAF) is charged with the responsibility of all athletic fundraising at Virginia Tech in support of athletic scholarships, capital improvements, and programmatic needs of the Athletics Department.”

    The HC is a flawed organization that could use numerous improvements, several of which have been suggested in the responses to this article. But I assume that most TSL readers are fans of VT, who want the Hokies to be successful. How can you be a serious, committed VT fan and NOT support the Hokie Club?!

    1. Maybe if someone would explain to us why supporting the Hokie Club is important, that would make a difference. Do you think the majority of the fan base just assumes how important that support might be? I’m sorry, but the Hokie Club needs to sell me on why I should contribute. I want a winning athletic program as much as anyone, but I’m not just going to hand over dollars without a detailed explanation of the benefits it will provide, other than scoreboards and assistant coaches salaries. Hokie Club, tell me why and I’m in.

      1. Agree better outreach is needed. Regarding your post, do you want a better explanation of what benefits a contribution will provide for you; or what benefits it will provide for VT? Or both?

        Perhaps foolishly, I thought the mission of the Hokie Club and the benefits (to both the school and the donor) were common knowledge. The comments in response to this article indicate otherwise. That indicates an information gap that VT and the HC need to fix. Unfortunately, several posters seem much more interested in what’s in it for them as individuals than in how to help VT.

  5. I was in the HC 20 + years, ultimately getting to the golden hokie status with 4 season tickets for football. I never got many calls from anyone, and when I gave it all up 2 years ago, never got a letter or call asking why I left or asking if I would reconsider and join again. I figured they didn’t really care and would find someone to take my place. I spent a lot of money for my school, and just never felt it was appreciated. Life goes on without it, I pick the games I want to go to, and save a ton of money. Also don’t have to be caught up in all of the political crap of reseating.

  6. Most “Hokie Clubs” are a small clique of geeky guys who get together to bitch about the football team and occasionally have a golf outing. They take on the name “Hokie Rep” and spend about 15 minutes pondering over their assigned list of donors and inactives that they are supposed to contact, yet rarely do.

    The meetings are drudgery and they spend virtually no time reaching out to Hokies outside of their clique, nor do they offer any meaningful activities during the meetings other than the occasional visit from one of the Hokie Club area directors. (By the way, Dave Everett is actually very good at this. I think he should be the head of the program – Lou Merrit is dismal.)

    I was a Hokie Rep in Farifax when the program first started. It was productive and engaging back then (Jay Poole was our HC President.) I was also a Hokie Rep when I first moved to Richmond for a while, but the pettiness of the local Hokie Club President and officers at the time, drove me away.

    Bottom line: There is no energy, little incentive and very little outreach. The Hokie Rep program is old and tired and either needs a major overhaul, or needs to be entirely scrapped for something else.

  7. I’m Class of ’82. When I moved back to the area 17 years ago, I joined the HC at the Bronze level. My wife and I had an young family and increasing or even maintaining our membership on a teacher salary was a true stretch. But we did it. Then the first re-seating came along. Our Bronzeness relegated us to the quiet side of the stadium in the FAR, frigid upper left-hand corner. Having sat in the South End-zone before when we had given our tickets to visiting family, we really couldn’t see the value in continuing at the Bronze level, so we dropped back to bare HC level (Kids also in college at VT $$) figuring that any seat in the stadium would be an improvement. (Oh…I forgot to tell you that we sat between two groups of VERY LARGE PEOPLE who encroached on our seats to such an extent that my wife and I had to share one seat…but how do you complain about that? “Ummm…the people on either side of us are really FAT and we have nowhere to sit.”) Strangely, in the last re-seating, our seats actually improved, despite not giving a dime more. We were back almost to our pre-first-re-seating spot on the East side. Go figure. Twenty rows above where we were in our Bronze daze.

    All of this taught us a lesson. It doesn’t matter where you are and long as you are. That’s a lesson I wish that all Hokie patrons would learn.

  8. Just as many of you no one ever asked me to become a Hokie Club Member. I searched them out and joined by looking at the information on the web site. I joined as a Golden Hokie and continued to stay golden unitl the reseating started. Since then I have contirbuted more in order to get better seats and parking. I have moved up several levels but that was on my own. No one has ever contacted me, other than an occasional call from a student athelete to thank me for my continued support. Now the University Development Department calls and send emails often. They call and ask to stop by and visit. They seem to be more involved in the fund raising than the Hokie Club.

    I had lived out of state for 22 years and when I moved back to Roanoke I checked into the Hokie Club and found out that other than the Friday lunches during football season and an occasional reps meeting there are not any meetings for the memebers. I could not believe that. There is no wonder that membership is falling and so many people do not know what the Hokie Club is. I can think of numerous ways to spread the word and increase the membership but no one seems to be in charge of promoting the club. The reps for the most part are not visiable and I am not sure what they do to get people involved.

    These comments need to be sent to the Hokie Club. Maybe that will open their eyes. I think that with success they too have become complacent.

  9. I do not have all of these negative feelings about the HC. I normally get at least 1 phone call a year from a student athlete thanking me for my support of athletics. Lu took me to lunch 2 years ago, two other HC folks have called me, visited me and taken me to lunch. Maybe you get what you give.

  10. Clemson got all of their growth spurt started in the 70’s with the IPTAY program (I pay ten dollars a year.) Hokie fans need to pony up! These numbers are dismal for a major national program who is on the ACC.

    1. I live in SC and I have a LOT of friends that went to Clemson and 90% of them are in IPTAY. They have so much going on for the young alumni it’s unbelievable. When I graduated from Tech in ’05, I NEVER got a single piece of mail about joining the HC. Not one of my friends from Tech is in the HC either. Something is obviously wrong here.

  11. Isn’t Lu Merritt (sp) the President of the Hokie Club? Shouldn’t he be held accountable for the retention and growth of the Hokie Club?

  12. I first inquired about the Hokie Club in 1972 !!!!!!! I have friends that have been HC members well before that time.

  13. I too am amazed at the percentage of TSL members who are not Hokie Club members. I am a Hokie Club member and have been for a lot of years. Come to think of it , I have never been aware of any type of membership drive for either old or new grads. It might not be a bad idea to have available a very inexpensive student membership.
    In any event, the Hokie Club is in desparate need of revitalization or maybe just vitalization, since I have seen little done other than fund raisers for existing members in all these years. Tom

  14. I decided a number of years ago to commit to the Hokie Club on an annual basis, we went from being Platinum level to Hokie Century Champion. My three kids are also Hokie Club members and have been since they were three years old, each one.

    There’s no need complaining about anything Hokie related if you’re not vested and support the cause. Havinf said that, I would have appreciated it if Mr. Weaver had responded to my concerns and suggestions in the past. I’m looking forward to a new AD.

    Mark Edwards
    Smithfieldhokie, Class of ’84

  15. I was a member of the HC for some time until a disability and fixed income forced me to drop out. I was never contacted before or since in any way at all.

  16. This poll is the type of poll that needs to be broadcast to the whole university. And to think about it, I don’t recall ever seeing a Hokie Club add in the VT Alum Mag. We need to have a serious sign up drive at the spring game/football games as well. These things may have occurred, but I missed them…..

  17. I decided about 10 years ago that I should support the Hokies more. I live in Texas and am not able to purchase season tickets, but I wanted to give something back. I joined the HC and a fraternity brother who is a HC rep asked me to list someone as a sponsoring rep. I have never heard from that rep or any other HC rep to support my continued or upgraded membership. Again, I did it to give back, so I really don’t expect anything from it. Although it doesn’t effect me, it does seem that it could be better organized.

  18. Yes, but I give less now than I used to, and their model is very old and tired. They need some new LIFE at the top.

  19. I enrolled at VT as an undergraduate student in the fall of 1976 and was graduated in June 1980. I have never been a Hokie Club member and have never been asked to become a member…..guess I should shower more frequently.

  20. Yes, and I am as negative as anyone in this forum about the current state of VT sports affairs… but {assuming you can afford it} you have to vote with your dollars. There nothing else you can legally do as an alumni.

    Now, if you beleive the sports admin is incompetent -> that’s another story, & I am not there, yet.

  21. I always hate the HC radio ad. It goes something like this:

    “This is Lu Merritt. Are you a Hokie Club member? Are members of your tailgating group members of the Hokie Club? If not, now would be the perfect time to let them know the benefits of Hokie Club membership.”

    When I hear this I always think that this would be the perfect time for Lu to inform us of the benefits of Hokie Club membership. I am not sure of my benefits; I am their worst possible salesman yet they are leaving it up to me.

  22. I am a proud alumnus of VT, but I have lived most of my “post-Hokie” life in Texas. I also received a Master’s degree from UT-Austin. UT has a “Texas Exes” program where they solicit soon-to-be graduates to join the Texas Exes. I don’t know where that money goes, but there is a “prestige factor” for UT Alumni to join the Texas Exes as “Life” members and get the car decals and License Plate frames that says “Texas Exes – Life Member”. When I received my Master’s degree from UT, they offered me a limited opportunity to join Texas Exes as a Life member for $600 that I could pay off over two years, as opposed to the $1000 Texas Exes Life Member fee at that time. I imagine that the Hokie Club could develop a similar approach to get new VT Alumni on board as “Life” Hokie Club members – maybe at the Orange & Maroon level??? Not that Life Membership would get members anything other than a decal, license plate frame, and maybe invitations to Hokie Club parties at VT bowl games and away athletic functions. If that were offered to me, I would certainly consider joining.

  23. I know the Development folks for my College, the Corps of Cadets, and had lunch before Christmas with an impressive young lady representing the Center for the Arts. I have been a Hokie Club (HC) member since about 1984. The last personal contact with the HC was 10 or more years ago when I had lunch with a young man from the HC. Not a complaint, an observation.

  24. It must be poorly run. I would have someone on the phone, emailing, tweeting, face booking, whatever nonstop in an attempt to contact imminent alumni, and alumni, about contributing and the benefits. Really the only benefit I’ve ever been aware of is parking and football tickets. Surely they have some other programs to offer besides a decal mailed out. Any organized activities? A game day booth/table/etc? I bet With a list of numbers you could call every single alumni alive in about six months with persistence. And one person’s job should be nothing but that. Imagine the return vs the cost

  25. My father-in-law has been a big supporter for as long as I can remember and still contributes along with his season tickets for both football and basketball. Now that my daughter is a freshman, I would be inclined to join on my own.

  26. There are ten or fifteen organizations beating down my door (blowing up my mailbox, anyway) looking for my money on a regular basis, and most of them get it. The Hokie Club is not one of those organizations, and has not ever been, since my graduation eighteen years ago. I would be more than happy to donate and give back to VT athletics, but it seems like the expectation is that I do my own homework and find out how to do so. It’s pretty absurd to think that I’m going to go spend more time looking for more ways to spend my money. The fact that I could go do this and don’t doesn’t make me a bad Hokie, it makes me a regular human being, who’s used to the normal and accepted method of fundraising in this society: you ask me for money and I give it to you.

    The Hokie Club will grow, and VT athletics will hit its next growth curve, if and when they start reaching out to folks like me. I’m not hard to find – just buy a damn list from LinkedIn, merge it with a physical address database, and come at me. The HC seems to operate on more of a regional and decentralized structure, though, which leads to pretty incremental gains at best, and little to no strategic innovation to drive sustained growth. Someone in the center needs to take charge of mining this massive latent pool of potential members. However, that requires a proactive, marketing-friendly posture that is not common in the culture of VT athletics.

  27. I graduated in 78 and I am one of the ones who didn’t know what the Hokie club was. Probably a combo of my not paying attention and not much contact.

  28. No, but I’m also not an alumnus. I don’t see the Hokie Club as a particularly worthwhile charity to give to, but but they could probably sell me on the social aspect of it. It would be a lot of fun to be a part of a community that supports Hokie football and does things like tailgate, talk sports, etc. I’m willing to pay a little bit for stuff like that, and would probably be much more likely then to make a larger donation when I have some money. It can’t just feel like a fundraising scheme. You gotta build social ties with the hope that they’ll pay off in the long term.

  29. I dropped from being a Golden Hokie this year for personal reasons. I am surprised that Dec. 31st came and went without any follow up from the Hokie Club. Most business don’t let your membership lapse without a phone call to inquire why. It wouldn’t have changed my decision but it might others.

  30. I have been a contributor to Tech athletics ever since Coach Frank Moseley came here (1951) and asked for $10 or more from all alumni to the Student Aid Fund, which at that time went 100% for athletic scholarships.I agree that the present day Hokie Club could do a better job of promoting the cause, but I am really surprised that so many TSL guys who read and chat here about football and sports are not interested in giving something to “the cause”. Surely we all know it all starts with the scholarship athlete at Div 1 schools, and the giving for them should start with us who are the most interested, whatever you can give. Benefits for the better ticket seats and parking go to the larger givers, but the schollies need us all to pitch in.

  31. Being a Hokie Rep in NC I know one of our biggest problems is identifying recent grads or older grads who have moved into our area. A large number never advise VT of their new address when they move and most do not try to find out if there is a local VT chapter. I feel we really need to create and establish that relationship between students and athletic team support and how they can continue that support wherever their careers take them while they are on campus.

  32. I found out what the Hokie Club was a few years ago just in doing some research on my own after realizing that I had no idea where exactly the athletic department got its funding from. I’ve never been contacted by them and definitely never heard of them as a student (class of 2007). My wife has a background in fundraising and she would be shocked to see how they operate. I do plan to join however – buy low, right?

  33. I essentially used my Hokie Club membership as a personal seat license to get better season tickets. I dropped my own membership at the first re-seating when I went in with a friend who already had more points. I now pay part of my friend’s donation so we can maintain a higher level and keep better seats. Clearly the Hokie Club hasn’t gotten the message across that we need to be donating, since I just think of it as dues.

  34. As a Hokie Rep, I am happy to enroll those who want to join (or re-join)the Hokie Club. Your contribution helps build a better program and your gift can be directed to the sport of your choice. I am happy to discuss. 804 513-5050

    1. Can you explain why I have only gotten a call from a HC rep once in about 2 decades? And why the HC didn’t contact me to see why I dropped from Gold to Silver, and later to Bronze.

      No one could have convinced me not to, but I would have assumed the HC would have been interested in wht.

  35. This is a small sample so far (about 100 votes), but it is still amazing that almost 50% are NOT members of the Hokie Club. Most of the posters are thought to be “hard-core” Hokies, but half don’t support the Club???

    1. When I give to the University, I tend to give to the Pamplin College of Business or some other organization on the north side of the Drill Field. I buy tickets and concessions and yell to support athletics. My money supports academics.

    2. And my guess is that Hokie club members would be more likely to vote. Otoh, at least on the free side, I wouldn’t assume everyone is hard-core, free is free.

    3. Isn’t it even more amazing that, per John Ballein, 0 (that’s ZERO) current NFL Hokie alums donated to the Hokie Club (not sure if Ballein is referring just to 2013 or to a longer period). What does that say about the Club? If the kids that benefited most from the VT athletic experience (and who have plenty of $$$) don’t give back, there is something really wrong.

    4. I used to donate for about 10 years. I didn’t realize that I hadn’t made a payment for 2012. Instead of directly contacting me and letting me know this could impact my season tickets I had, I only received communication in the spring notifying me since my Hokie Club contribution had lapsed that I would have to be re-seated…no thank you. Tired of dealing with such a poorly run entity. Marketing sucks not just the countless letters requesting donations but they need to make it more personalized. The numbers will continue to drop. I would still be a contributing member otherwise and buying 4 season tickets every year. Good Luck!!!

      1. Similar thing happened with me…then with re-seating I became a non-entity…after 25+ years in the Hokie Club. Still a fan, but got the impression I wasn’t a big enough contributor to count…so I left. GO HOKIES

  36. In my experience you guys are definitely right about a lack of effort towards connecting with younger alumni. I graduated in 2011 and as far as I can recall I have never been contacted in any way by the Hokie Club. I probably wouldn’t know what it was if I didn’t read TSL.

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