The Ohio State University (OSU) Marching Band appealed to Buckeye Nation in a band-specific fundraiser, resulting in big bucks toward future scholarships for marching musicians. The Best Damn Band in the Land (TBDBITL) coordinated with the university on an exclusive 18-month campaign from July 2017 through December 2018, raising more than $8.6 million from approximately 2,500 donors.
The 100% TBDBITL campaign more than doubled the band’s previous endowment in order to extend a scholarship of at least $3,000 to every marching musician. Previously, about half of the students received scholarships.
“All of the students in the marching band give 100% on and off the field, year after year, season after season,” says Kevin Leonardi, senior director of marketing and communications at OSU. “It’s pretty much just like a part-time job, if not, in some cases, a full-time job.”
Pro-golfer and alumni Jack Nicklaus and his wife, Barbara, served as honorary co-chairs of the campaign to generate enthusiasm and support. In addition, the band had many opportunities to engage OSU fans at events such as “skull sessions,” final rehearsals that the public can attend before football games.
For other bands that want to launch similarly focused campaigns, Leonardi recommends building relationships with school administration. “We’re very fortunate at Ohio State that our band program has a fantastic relationship with our college development office and partners around the university.”