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Tips to Raise More For Your Fraternity or Sorority

By Clay Boggess on Apr 22, 2023
Fraternity and Sorority Fundraising Ideas

The Ultimate how-to guide to Fraternity and Sorority Fundraising.

One of the essential values of your sorority or fraternity chapter is most likely community service and philanthropy. To commit to giving back and helping your community, many chapters partner with a philanthropic organization for at least a school year. Your nonprofit partner should resonate with your members so they can enthusiastically fundraise on their behalf.

But starting a fundraising campaign takes more than simply collecting donations on the quad on a whim. Instead, before you start campaigning, work with your fellow sorority or fraternity to devise a robust fundraising strategy, complete with a set of goals and a budget. Remember the following tips while planning your fundraising campaign to set yourself up for success. Let's dive in!

1. Use fraternity and sorority management software

Today, there's an app or software solution for everything, and fraternity and sorority fundraising is no different. Consider automating your operations using management software tailored specifically for fraternities and sororities. According to OmegaFi, you can use this software to

  • Store contact data that you can use for fundraising appeals
  • Communicate directly with prospects and chapter members with native messaging
  • Collect and organize your fundraiser's financial data

Another critical aspect to look for in your fundraising software is mobile-friendliness. As busy college students, your members are always on-the-go. Mobile-friendly software allows you to reach out to them anywhere, anytime. Every new class of recruits that enters your chapter is likely more tech-savvy than the last, so consider empowering them with this tool.

2. Recruit philanthropic members

During recruitment, your brothers or sisters look for candidates that align with your values and embody your chapter's culture. To set expectations, prioritize philanthropy as a core principle during recruitment. That way, you can proactively gauge your prospects' passion for community service and fundraising. Consider asking the following questions during recruitment chats:

  • What cause are you passionate about and why?
  • What nonprofits or charities have you supported, and how?
  • How vital are philanthropy and community service to you?
  • How will you be an asset to our fundraising efforts?

Record your recruits' answers and use them to guide your decision-making when it's time to admit the new class. Creating a community passionate about fundraising and community service makes your campaign feel genuine. You're also more likely to get enthusiastic participation from your members.

3. Host a branded merchandise product fundraiser

When people think of your chapter, an image comes to mind: your Greek letters. Your chapter is uniquely positioned to leverage its iconic branding and raise money for a great cause through college fundraising.

With a product fundraiser, your chapter creates branded merchandise for fundraising revenue. For instance, you can offer your members' families and friends:

  • Hats
  • T-shirts
  • Sweatshirts
  • Drawstring bags
  • Water bottles
  • Stickers
  • Jewelry
  • Drink koozies

Branded merchandise product fundraisers give your donors something tangible in return for their support. People with a solid connection to your chapter get great merchandise and the chance to champion your cause.

Design hyper-personalized merchandise for your most loyal supporter segments, boosting sales. For example, you could make a line of merchandise that reads "chapter mom/dad" or "chapter alumni" for those groups, making supporters feel special and appealing to another part of their relationship with your chapter.

To get started with a product fundraiser, contact a product fundraising partner. They'll produce your branded merchandise for a cut of your fundraising revenue. Look for a partner that has high-quality products, good reviews from other customers, and that can offer an online fundraising store to sell your branded merchandise.

4. Advertise matching gifts

Matching gifts are the nonprofit world's best-kept secret. Many donors are unfamiliar with their company's programs, so billions of dollars in matching gifts go unclaimed annually. That's why it's up to you to educate your donors about their employer's matching gift program so you can reap the benefits.

Consider running a Giving Day focused on matching gifts to educate and encourage your donors to give. Send emails and post on social media about matching gift programs and how donors can check if they qualify.

Even when you aren't running a Giving Day event, you can capture more matching gift revenue using integrated matching gift software with auto-submission. According to Double the Donation, many employers use an overcomplicated matching gift request process, leading to many donors losing interest in giving. Auto-submission streamlines the process for you and your donors. Donors input their contact information and their employer. Your software will then submit the request for you, instantly multiplying your fundraising revenue.

5. Target parents and alums

While your members' connections amongst the student body are one of your main fundraising targets, it's helpful to appeal to other groups who share a deep connection with your chapter and have more disposable income: parents and alums.

To share your cause with your parent and alums communities, write letters and emails explaining your cause and the potential impact of their support. Then, attach either a QR code leading to your donation page or a hyperlink so they can conveniently donate after being inspired by your letter.

To pull at their heartstrings, use your fraternity and sorority management software to include mentions of their child in the chapter. You can export your member data into a mail merge template that mentions the parent recipient's child and their specific achievements.

For instance, you might include that a parent's daughter has already raised $200 for the campaign and needs $50 more to win a prize from your organization. These updates heighten the stakes and create urgency for your parent recipients.

For alum appeals, you can take a different approach to mention their experience with the chapter. Use language like "pay forward your support" to remind your alumni of the alumni who donated while they were active members and how it impacted their fundraising campaigns. Appealing to alums in this way will appeal to their fond memories and provide another reason to contribute.

6. Write personalized thank-you letters

Once your campaign or fundraising push is over, your work isn't done yet! Sending donor thank-you letters is critical for retaining donors for future campaigns. Show your sincere appreciation for their support by:

  • Addressing the specific impact of their donation with metrics
  • Being genuine and personable
  • Mentioning your fundraising campaign goals and outcome

Most importantly, you can use a thank-you letter template, but ensure you personalize each letter for the recipient. Include the donor's name, connection to the chapter, gift type, and amount. This approach feels more genuine and shows that you pay attention to every donor.

For major donors, consider sending a handwritten thank-you note which adds extra effort to your outreach, increasing the likelihood that your major donor will remember you and give again.

Wrapping Up

Your chapter has the potential to make significant changes in your philanthropic focus area while enriching your members' interpersonal skills. To get started, organize fundraising training sessions for all members participating in your campaign. Check-in with your members throughout the process to address any challenges. And don't forget to use this opportunity to build your relationships with donors so that your chapter cultivates a robust and philanthropic community for years to come.

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Author Bio Clay Boggess, Author

Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for schools and various nonprofit organizations throughout the US since 1999. He’s helped administrators, teachers, and outside support entities such as PTAs and PTOs raise millions of dollars. Clay is an owner and partner at Big Fundraising Ideas.

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