Overton’s fund-raising plan is proven, tested


By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer


Milton Overton

Milton Overton

When a visitor walked up and wanted to know more about the fundraising campaigns that Milton Overton recently put in place, he was ready to explain.

He reached to a nearby table, grabbed a brochure that spelled out the details about the Lockers of Legacy and Building Champions drives.
For anyone who didn’t understand the concept, Overton, who is in his first year as athletic director at FAMU, broke it down step by step.
“You get your name on the locker,” he said, explaining the Lockers of Legacy drive.

“This is the way the locker is going to look and this is the way your name, your family name will look on the locker,” he said, giving a clear picture of what donors will see for their dollars.

The idea of selling naming rights might be new to FAMU, but name any major college with an athletic program and they have done the same thing. Overton is simply bringing FAMU into the 21st century.

No more nickels and dimes with the expected result being brand new athletic facilities. Overton wants the big bucks like other programs are getting.

FAMU deserves as much. But even more important anyone who gives will be able to see where their money is being spent. Something to believe in.

That won’t take long to come to fruition. Overton even seem to be speaking at warp speed when he says that the plan is to take the Galimore Fieldhouse down at the end of the season and have a state-of-the-arts building up before the start of the 2017 season.

While it might seem things are moving too fast, big money is coming in and more than $250,000 has been raised in three months.
The locker program gives individuals, families and businesses an opportunity to put their names on lockers in the football dressing room. Potential dividends look really huge. Just multiply 100 lockers by $5,000.
There it is. Something to believe in.

Throw in $4,000, $3,000 or $2,500 options and it’s not a bad plan. Then, there are naming opportunities throughout the building that won’t only house lockers, but the training and weight rooms.

See how the money is adding up. The goal is $8 million and Overton is optimistic, especially if he could actually have a new building replacing the old field house.

Essentially he will give people a reason to believe in the Rattlers.

“I’m not just after the Rattlers who have given in the past,” he said. “Here is another thing why I’m optimistic; We have never done naming before. Ever.”

There is enticement in the Building Champions campaign, too. Free parking space and season tickets. That of course has cause a bit of a rift between the athletic department and the boosters, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed.

Especially knowing that it’s a proven way to do fundraising.

“Those are pillars of revenue generating in college sports and it never happened,” Overton said, giving a reason for his push to make a change in the way FAMU raised money in the past.

The idea isn’t a reinvention of the wheel, but it’s certainly worth embracing. If for no other reason; it could change the landscape around Bragg Stadium.

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