Last Saturday night, LSU pummeled Auburn 31-10 in what amounted to a defensive clinic on the part of LSU. The Bayou Bengal defense held Auburn to a single field goal for 59 minutes and 52 seconds, the reserves finally giving up a touchdown in the waning seconds of the game. This complete performance by the LSU Tigers thrilled the crowd of 92,654, the eighth largest recorded attendance in the history of Tiger Stadium. Sadly, a night that will be remembered by many as a standout performance by the team was marred by an all too typical display of apathy by the LSU fan base.
During this same game, the Capital Area United Way (CAUW) held a fundraiser during the first timeout of the first quarter. There’s a good chance you saw the promotional material for the “Help Tiger Stadium Make History Again” fundraiser in the weeks leading up to the game. I know I did. If not, here’s a refresher:
The fundraiser was simple: during the first timeout of the first quarter, the crowd in attendance was asked to text “LSU” to a mobile number provided. $5.00 would then be added to the donor’s phone bill and would subsequently be forwarded to the CAUW. The CAUW estimated that:
If everyone in Tiger Stadium donated $5.00 Capital Area United Way could provide:
- Basic needs for over 50,000 people!
- Over 4.7 million meals
- Over 17,000 prescriptions
- Over 10,000 therapy sessions for disabled children
- Help over 1,200 families purchase a new home
An easy and simple fundraiser that should have generated a fairly significant stream of revenue, right? As Lee Corso is fond of saying: “Not so fast!”
As reported in the Baton Rouge Business Report Daily Report, the CAUW only raised $8,550 during the game. It might sound like a decent amount, but you really should take a second look at those numbers. According to the report, a total of 2,550 fans sent the initial text message to donate. Of that, approximately 800 failed to take the second step of confirming their donation. The article is silent on whether those folks were simply too hammered to understand what they were doing when they sent the first message.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s take that first number: 2,550 initial text messages sent. Ignoring the fact some of those texts could easily have been sent from outside Tiger Stadium, that means that roughly 2.75% of the crowd attending the game chose to part with a nominal amount of their own money in order to help those in need in the community. Way to go, Tiger Faithful! While the argument can be made that a portion of that crowd of 92,654 consisted of old folks and children who may not have cellphones (not to mention the Auburn fans who probably didn’t care in the first place), I really don’t think the numbers would change that significantly. Simply put, only 1 out of every 36 persons in the crowd donated that night.
Looking back at CAUW’s high hopes and using some admittedly lazy math…
When 35 of 36 fans in Tiger Stadium can’t find the generosity to donate the equivalent of a Pierre Burger, Capital Area United Way can only provide:
- Basic needs for barely 500 people
- Barely 47,000 meals
- Barely 170 prescriptions
- Barely 100 therapy sessions for disabled children
- Help barely 12 families purchase a new home
What really makes this story all the more disappointing is the massive amount of time and money we spend tailgating and attending games during the season in the first place. Sure, we throw a hell of a party, but is that how a community should really be measured? I have a theory that more improvements happen in Baton Rouge when we have a mediocre LSU football team than when they are doing well. You have to admit that it makes a certain amount of sense, particularly if you remember the Curley Hallman days.
Here’s hoping that CAUW is not entirely discouraged from attempting this kind of program again in the future. I find this method of fund raising to be unique and well suited to our changing views toward mobile banking and payments. Sadly, the biggest challenge doesn’t seem to be making the technology work, but rather to find a large enough group of people to give a damn about their fellow man. When living in Tiger Nirvana, our fans apparently can’t be bothered. Unfortunately, you’d be hard-pressed to find a larger group of people in Baton Rouge than the crowd that fills Tiger Stadium on Saturdays in the fall. Shame on you, Tiger Faithful…