From recruitment to graduation, your brothers or sisters all pitch in to help your chapter thrive through fundraising. Not only do your members fundraise to offset internal costs such as dues, but they also fundraise to satisfy one of your core values: community service.
By partnering with a charitable organization, you can deliver valuable experiences to your members while making a tangible difference in your community. But, you’ll be more successful and stand out if you take unique, educational, and fun approaches to fundraising. So, skip the same old bake sale and instead try one of these unconventional campaign ideas! Let’s cover the basics of running a fundraising campaign before exploring seven fundraising ideas.
Fundraising campaign essentials
Overseeing your fundraising campaigns is a critical part of your fraternity or sorority management responsibilities. No matter what campaign ideas you choose, there are some leadership best practices to keep in mind to ensure the success of your efforts, such as:
- Get your whole chapter involved: The more of your brothers or sisters are involved and spreading the word about your fundraiser, the better! As a core value of your chapter, remember to recruit members who share your excitement for philanthropy. Then, train your members on fundraising techniques and enlist their help in raising money for your cause.
- Use the right tech: A software solution is one of the best tools you can use to organize your campaign. According to OmegaFi, fraternity and sorority management software can keep everyone on the same page during the fundraiser. For example, you can use management software’s communication channels to update your members on campaign progress, or you could use the budgeting module to determine how much money to raise.
- Advertise on many mediums: To reach the most potential donors, remember to leverage numerous channels to advertise your fundraisers, such as social media, email, and direct mail. Segment your communications with supporters based on their preferred mode of communication to boost your campaign’s visibility.
- Try hybrid or fully online events: Online and hybrid events have soared in popularity due to their flexibility, sharability, and affordability. Consider adapting your fundraisers into a hybrid or online format using video-conferencing platforms and online donation forms.
7 Fraternity and Sorority Fundraising Ideas
Now that you know the fundamentals of fundraising, let’s get into some unique fundraising ideas to boost your success.
1. Branded merchandise sale
Product fundraisers are a great way to give back to your supporters while raising money for your cause. Plus, your chapter is in a unique position to leverage a branded merchandise campaign because of your iconic branding: your Greek letters.
First, identify which products you’d like to sell, such as hats, t-shirts, stickers, and drink koozies. Then, enlist a product fundraising partner to make high-quality branded products for you. They’ll get a cut of your fundraising revenue for their services. Finally, use your chapter’s network to sell this merchandise to parents, friends, and alumni. Not only is your sale supporting a worthy cause, but it also allows your donors to support you in style.
2. Sorority and fraternity talent show
Your brothers or sisters come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have many different skills and interests. Shine a spotlight on your members’ abilities by hosting a talent show!
After you finalize your participating members and their acts, determine where you’ll host the event and how you’ll raise money from it. A talent show is easily adaptable to a hybrid format with a video-conferencing platform to stream the in-person portion of the event. Use your online donation portal to sell tickets to either the live event or for a link to the live stream.
In addition to selling tickets, you can earn revenue from your talent show by selling snacks, drinks, candy, or any other concessions goodies you can buy in bulk. Just like with branded merchandise, you can also find a product fundraising partner to help supply these goods. Also, for virtual talent shows, you can still sell concessions by having guests buy their food online, then ship it to them on the day of the event so they can snack and watch from their homes.
A talent show is a perfect format to directly involve your chapter members in your campaign in an entertaining environment.
Your chapter likely already throws formal events every semester, so why not convert one into a charity gala? Invite donors who give at a certain threshold to attend a night of fine dining, music, and perhaps a silent auction to raise more for your cause. This is a great way to fundraise, but it might require more planning, coordination, and overhead expenses on your part, so be sure you stick to your budget while planning your charity gala.
4. Parents weekend
For student fundraisers, one of the most important groups of potential donors is parents. Most parents jump at the chance to support their children and spend time with them, making a parent’s weekend event a win-win for both parties.
Most parents weekends feature bonding activities such as mixers and tailgates for parents to mingle. Monetize the event for charity by selling tickets to attend or participate in the events. Depending on the scope of the event, consider booking hotels or hosting a parent’s retreat off campus. Parents weekends provide an opportunity for parents to get to know your chapter and participate in fun activities while supporting their child’s philanthropic endeavors.
5. Local business/corporate sponsorships
Many fundraising campaigns are subsidized by for-profit organizations looking to put their profit toward improving the community. Corporate philanthropy greatly benefits all for-profit organizations, from small businesses to large corporations. All you need to do is send a donation request letter outlining your cause, your desired contribution from them, and how participating in the campaign will benefit their organization. Be sure to follow up in person and prepare the appropriate materials for any in-person meetings.
6. Giving Day
Sometimes, less is more! If you’re daunted by the length of some of these campaigns, consider hosting a Giving Day campaign. This format condenses a longer campaign into a singular day devoted to fundraising and spreading awareness. And this format works wonders: you may have heard of Giving Tuesday, the most successful worldwide Giving Day that grosses billions of dollars each year.
The Giving Day format is effective because it helps your chapter highlight the urgency of the campaign and decreases the commitment of your supporters running the event. This is especially attractive to busy college students who might only be able to contribute a few hours of their time, a category into which many of your members fall. Remember to pick a day that works for the majority of your brothers or sisters and hype it up beforehand with frequent fundraising pushes.
7. Matching gift campaign
Matching gift programs are the nonprofit world’s best-kept secret. Chances are, your members’ friends and family work for companies that will match their charitable contributions at a 1:1 or even 2:1 ratio.
Despite the simplicity of matching gifts, billions in matching gift revenue go unclaimed per year because donors don’t know about their employers’ programs. Your chapter can draw awareness to matching gifts by launching a fundraiser focused on them. Send your supporters educational resources informing them about matching gifts and how they can make a big difference for your chapter. Then, use a donation portal with matching gift auto-submission capabilities to streamline the giving process as much as possible. According to Double the Donation, 84% of donors say they’re most likely to donate if they know their donation will be matched, so leverage these powerful programs!
As a fraternity or sorority leader, you understand how strong your community’s bonds with each other are.
When planning your philanthropy event or campaign, be sure to spread the word to key stakeholders, such as parents and alumni. These groups already have a vested interest in your chapter’s success, so throwing fundraisers tailored towards these groups will boost your revenue. No matter the size or scope of your fundraiser, rallying your socially-minded brothers and sisters will not only benefit the community, but also strengthen your brother/sisterhood.
About the Author
With extensive experience serving the Greek life community, Mathew is dedicated to providing value to clients and fraternity and sorority members alike. Mathew’s expertise is in sales forecasting, goal setting, client growth initiatives and business development and analytics. When he is not laser focused on moving organizations forward, you can find him spending time with his wife, Lauren, and two dogs, Reagan and Teddy, running marathons and watching the Atlanta Braves and Auburn sports.