Even I’ll admit there’s nothing especially flashy to this story.
The MAC’s annual giving fund will be up once again, this time about $1 million above last year’s record $14.5 million figure. There are about 800 fewer donors to that fund, but that’s pretty close to the regular number, one that spikes in a year after a BCS bowl or a Final Four appearance or something stimulating and then settles when things come back to Earth.
When all the funds from all the donors are added up and recorded sometime next month, the MAC will report less than last year’s $23.5 million, but that figure last year was inflated by separate donations totaling $5.5 million that didn’t happen this year.
So, all in all, not a disastrous year despite sub-optimal seasons for football and men’s basketball and some pretty negative publicity aimed at and earned by the athletic department.
What did strike me was how aware Matt Borman, the executive director of the MAC, is of everything around him and how seemingly and purposefully unaffected he is by it all.
“We haven’t had a lot of good things to talk to donors about this year,” said Borman, who’s been at WVU since 2008 and who was promoted full-time to his current position in August.
Honest, blunt, inevitable. I think the common perception of the MAC is that it has a singular focus and doesn’t realize or deal with the reality experienced by many donors or prospective donors.
But that’s not true.
This is something Borman and his staff deal with every day. They can’t hide from it so they deal with it as best as the day allows.
“I think the best way I can address that is to say we have gone through some challenges in the past few months with some questions our donors might have had for us in regard to some things going on publicly,” Borman said. “The way we addressed them on a daily basis – and we have addressed them on a daily basis – is to be honest and to communicate with the donors as much as we can.
“They have questions about what’s going on and we do not dodge them. We answer them, but we trust what the individual leadership positions at this university are doing and we’re making sure our donors trust them. And that’s based on the relationships we’ve built with them.”