During my junior year at Hopkins High School, I used an Independent Study class to create, distribute, and analyze a survey to assess how all major concerned parties in the district would feel about sales of naming rights and/or advertising space on district property in order to increase income.
I took inspiration for this project from several sources. First, a newspaper article in USA Today informed me of a school district in Wisconsin that had sold the naming rights to its football field. This sale brought in over $1 million. The Hopkins School District was, at the time I began my project, having financial difficulties and was forced to begin making drastic budget cuts. These two factors made me wonder if naming rights and advertising space sales would be a feasible method for my district to help stave off cuts.
I determined that the best way to accurately report on the whole district's opinion was to create a survey. The survey was one page long and took only a few minutes to complete. The survey was given to parents, students, and staff at five Hopkins School District schools -- Hopkins High School, North Junior High School, West Junior High School, Eisenhower Elementary School, and Meadowbrook Elementary School. Three different versions of the survey were created -- one for each of the three major stakeholder groups.
The survey itself was distributed during parent-teacher conference events at each of the schools. I received 1,813 responses. I input the surveys into Microsoft Excel and used pivot tables to analyze the results for each question.
In addition to the survey, a separate questionnaire was sent to businesses that have a strong or otherwise recognizable presence in the district to determine their potential level of interest in purchasing naming rights or advertising space. The responses for this questionnaire were also tabulated and included in my analysis. I also examined the practices of other school districts around the nation that were already selling naming rights.
I compiled my findings into a 45-page report, and presented an executive summary to the Hopkins School District Board. After reviewing my findings, the board relaxed district policy to allow for the exploration of the sale of naming rights and/or advertising space as a means to increase revenues. My study was subsequently featured in the Star Tribune. The Athletic Director for Hopkins High School took over the process from that point forward. A copy of the full study is available upon request.