Posted on 08/03/2016
- by Dan Allenby
In the late 1950’s Oakland businessman Wilfred Winkenbach organized a contest for his friends and colleagues where individuals selected a “team” of professional golfers and tracked their scores over a period of time. When the tournament ended, the team with the best score would win. This was the earliest record of what’s known today as fantasy sports.
Online fantasy sports have exploded in recent years. Players assemble virtual teams of real professional athletes and compete based on the statistical performance of those athletes in actual games. Today there are over 57 million participants, as reported by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Players tend to be younger and better educated, and have higher household incomes than non-players, according the Association. On average, participants spend over $556 each on league-related costs.
Johns Hopkins University has come up with a way to capitalize on the fantasy sports craze, engage volunteers and mobilize alumni to support class programs. It’s called “Fantasy Reunion.”
Led by team captains, alumni organize themselves into affinity-based teams of eleven and then earn points for participating in various activities. The teams that earn the most points between January 15 and April 1 are awarded prizes (e.g., apple watch, event tickets, swag). There is also a prize for the individual with the highest score. Points are awarded for:
- Registering for reunion, with extra points granted for registering early or from out-of-state
- Donating to the reunion class gift campaign
- Providing information about participant interests and affinities
- Communicating with one another
Fantasy Reunion is a great way to engage volunteers online, encourage support for the university and ensure that reunion programs are successful. For more information, check out the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association website.
Want to learn more? CLICK HERE for AGN’s Webinar on Engaging Volunteers Online.