Whether you’re collecting funds on behalf of your philanthropic partner or your chapter itself, your fraternity or sorority focuses lots of its energy on fundraising.
That being said, no matter what you’re fundraising for, executing your fundraising initiatives must be a team effort. However, this can be easier said than done.
As a sorority or fraternity leader, you likely already have fundraising experience, but think back to when you began. It might have been overwhelming or uncomfortable asking for money before you had the skills you have now, and many of your members are currently in that position.
It’s your job to provide them with the support and resources they need to thrive as fundraisers and effectively collect funds for your chapter. Let’s explore five tips you can implement to smash your chapter’s fundraising goals as a team.
1. Establish a fundraising culture.
Philanthropy is a core value of many sororities and fraternities, and your chapter should highlight this whenever possible. By demonstrating your commitment to fundraising, you’ll attract like-minded members who share your passion. You can establish a well-known fundraising culture by:
- Integrating it into recruitment. This process allows your chapter to find members that share your values and priorities. While having recruitment discussions, gauge how much your potential members care about fundraising and if they have experience with it.
- Creating fundraising-centered chapter traditions. Make fundraising part of your chapter experience by implementing traditions related to it. For instance, you might recognize the member with the most fundraised dollars each year by adding their name to a plaque in your house.
- Appointing a fundraising board. Organizing your fundraising initiatives is a big job, and you shouldn’t tackle it alone. Put together a fundraising panel or board who are in charge of managing campaign logistics. Rotating the panel yearly allows more members to get involved and cement it as a part of your chapter’s culture.
The best way to integrate fundraising into your chapter’s culture is to make it easy and fun to get involved. No matter which strategy you use, ensure it’s accessible for any member who expresses interest to be more involved in your chapter’s unique approach to fundraising.
2. Provide fundraising training.
Many chapters require members to collect funds on behalf of their philanthropic efforts, but without providing the proper training, it can be difficult for your members to run fruitful campaigns. Set them up for success by:
- Offering high-quality fundraising resources. There are many fundraising books, online articles, and podcasts that provide fundraising best practices in a digestible manner for beginners. You could even enlist the help of alumni to provide tips relevant to your chapter’s specific philanthropic approach and campaigns.
- Hosting a fundraising boot camp. While providing tools for members to read on their own time is important, hosting a live fundraising class allows them to ask questions and learn from their brothers or sisters. NXUnite suggests covering the basic elements of fundraising, such as the primary fundraising categories and how to ask for donations.
Your members are already busy with school and extracurricular activities, so ensure your training isn’t intrusive or stressful. Consider offering classes at regular, convenient intervals, such as twice a month after chapter meetings.
3. Set clear fundraising goals.
Setting a clear objective for your members gives them a concrete number to aim for. The fundraising goals you establish for your members should be S.M.A.R.T, or:
Here’s an example of a chapter-wide and personal objective that adheres to S.M.A.R.T guidelines:
- Increase philanthropy campaign donations by 25% by the end of the school year.
- Personally raise $5,000 for the philanthropy campaign by the end of the school year.
Collaborate with your fundraising board to establish benchmark goals based on your previous campaigns and your philanthropic partner’s needs. Also, work with your brothers or sisters one-on-one to help them set their own fundraising objectives based on their experience and past success. By not only setting chapter-wide goals but also helping your members set personal goals, you can boost their confidence and motivate them to actively participate in your philanthropic efforts.
4. Offer ongoing support and resources.
Even after training finishes, your leadership must actively work to cultivate your members’ growth as fundraisers. For instance, you might offer:
- Mentorship programs. Depending on the size of your chapter, your experienced members can act as mentors to your new recruits. You might already have a “big sister/brother” program, which provides convenient pairings for fundraising mentorship.
- Campaign-specific resources. While training is more general, consider creating assets specifically to support certain campaigns. For instance, if you run a social media-based peer-to-peer campaign, you could offer templates for them to post.
- Fundraising scripts. Sometimes, knowing what to say to raise money can be difficult. Provide your members with effective, emotional messaging that they can repurpose for their own networks.
- Advice on who to target. Your members should take a unique approach to each fundraising target. Inspire them by giving advice on which groups of prospects they should reach out to. For instance, Pennington suggests targeting your sorority or fraternity’s alumni as they often give frequently, so you can provide context about specific alumni before your members reach out.
Your members will appreciate the time and effort you invest into their success and will be more motivated to take their campaigns above and beyond.
5. Celebrate and recognize fundraising success.
Though your members don’t participate in fundraising primarily for personal praise, your chapter should recognize your members’ hard work and dedication to your philanthropy by showing your appreciation to them. Some easy and effective ways to celebrate success and recognize your fundraisers include:
- Implementing a reward system or incentives for reaching fundraising milestones
- Using thank-you eCards to show one-on-one appreciation
- Hosting an end-of-year party to celebrate success
- Posting online about particular high-performing fundraisers
Remember that every dollar counts, so you should thank each of your participants, no matter how much they raised. Showing gratitude for your members’ philanthropic passion motivates them to continue participating and improving their fundraising skills.
Regardless of your chapter’s specific fundraising ideas or philanthropic focuses, you’ll see more enthusiastic participation and better campaign results if you actively promote and invest in your chapter’s skill development. That being said, remember to make your fundraising initiatives and training fun for your brothers or sisters to join in! Not only will you collect money for worthy causes, but you’ll also enrich your members’ experience with your sorority or fraternity.