We’ll be frank here: In this world, you need money. Unless you’re a doomsday-prepper or a hunter-gatherer, it’s nearly impossible to exist in our modern society without exchanging money for goods and services. With that said, for a fraternity or sorority, this monetary tie is even greater and here’s why:
As non-profit organizations, fraternities and sororities exist solely through the collection of funds.
Now, these funds are primarily collected as dues required from active members. However, these dues are streamlined and trimmed to make them accessible—and affordable—for members. Fraternities and sororities dealing with predominantly undergraduate students have to be discerning in not only dictating their dues structures but also how they budget for events.
In short, dues can only amount to so much otherwise they risk becoming unaffordable, lessening the pool of active members and ultimately impeding operations.
That was a mouthful, we know, but what we’re getting at is that when it comes to collecting funds, there are times when even more monetary contributions need to be raised. Enter the concept of fundraising.
Although fundraising can be difficult for organizations both large and small, it’s an incredibly necessary skill for an organization to master. Luckily for you, OmegaFi has your front, your side, and most importantly the precious small of your back.
Here’s the skinny on Breaking the Bank: 5 Strategies to Boost Your Chapter Fundraising.
5. Less is More: Focus on Big Events that Count
Here’s a question: what is more effective? Having many moderately successful events or having a few which are largely successful?
Although we’re sure many of you are thinking, “It depends, since both could hypothetically raise the same amount.” And if you’re thinking that, you smart, smart reader, you’re half-right. The reality is that a handful of large events is fundamentally better than many moderate ones, and here are a few reasons why:
- People get fatigued by multiple fundraisers—including your membership. It seems like they’ve given before, and giving more and more feels excessive.
- Although more complex logistically, large-scale events fundamentally emphasize quality over quantity, meaning that the event will be memorable and easier to plan and execute than corralling the details of many small one-offs.
- Multiple events may help in hedging your bets for success, but the returns are small. It’s better to go big and leave it all on the field than conserve your energy in the hopes that the next attempt will be more favorable.
So, put your focus on one or two large-scale fundraising events per semester and give your attention to making those great. The returns will be higher, and your campus and membership will thank you for it.
Need some ideas on what events to host? Our list of 14 fraterntity and sorority fundraisers can help you find the perfect event.
4. Spread the Word with Social Media
This is a subject that is often either underestimated or neglected. Nowadays most advertising is done digitally. Whether it’s an ad on Youtube or a sponsored ad on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, social media has become a medium for getting word to the masses. Where this helps you out specifically is that you’re on a college campus filled with your intended demographic.
So, how do you leverage this?
First, get those social media accounts poppin’. This means publishing interesting and relevant content that reflects well on your organization and stays true to its values.
Second, you want to frequently add any and all college accounts you can find—just search #”YourSchool” and add anyone using it. Use a follower analyzer like Instafollow to get rid of people who don’t follow you back and to keep the ones who do.
Third, create engaging ways to not only publicize your event but to get people involved and engaged. If you’re running a Halloween fundraiser for “X Charity,” create a campaign that involves the campus. Take a picture of a candy bar, hashtagged “SweetTooth,” with the promise that every hashtag will be met with a dollar donated in their name. Not only does this publicize your event, but it also gets your campus involved and empowered in a truly positive way.
3. Incentivize, Incentivize, Incentivize
What makes you buy something you didn’t plan to in a grocery store? Perhaps it’s the discovery of a product that seems appealing, the price is right and it fulfills a need or desire that you didn’t know you had. Or maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s just a product or service you’re generally disinterested in, but the fact that it’s buy one get one free, and you could see some value in that offer, entices you to give it a shot.
Therein lies the power of the incentive. It’s a soft, psychological close, convincing you, “Hey, it could be worth it” without a word ever being spoken.
In the case of chapter fundraising, you need to compel a person’s inner desire to be helpful and useful. Ultimately, people genuinely want to help others, and often times that comes through the practice of giving and volunteering. So how do you incentivize charity? Some philanthropies will write your name on a shape of paper and tape it to a wall. Others will send you a thank you email and an opportunity to deduct your contribution from your taxes. In the case of chapter fundraising—objectively on a smaller scale—you can alleviate this problem by giving your donations an individual shout out in some shape or form. Perhaps the higher contribution gets an opportunity to experience a special event. Or even better, you can pick a donor at random, similar to a raffle system, to be given a small prize or recognition.
Whether the funds are being generated for your organization or for a philanthropy, the destination is irrelevant. What’s important is that your donors feel appreciated and incentivized to give.
2. Make it Personal (Define Your Purpose)
Perhaps one of the most important entries on this list, when raising funds for your chapter or for a charity, you need to communicate a definitive “why” to inspire action. What we mean is that there needs to be a clear directive as to the purpose behind the fundraiser in the first place. From there, your prospective donors need to connect with that purpose in order to get behind it.
If your organization needs money to make your winter formal happen, that’s fine, just stress the importance of this event to your prospective donors (undergrad brothers and alumni preferably), and why it’s particularly meaningful. Again, people like to help if they’re given a good enough reason. So, give your cause a proper back story and communicate that to those you look towards for help.
1. Open Your Donation Channels
This may sound simple enough but it’s easily the most important item of this list: Make it easy to collect donations from your prospective donors. Whether that’s using a financial system like OmegaFi, or even using a platform like PayPal, GoFundMe, etc. to collect money for a specific event or cause, the point is to diversify the way in which you collect these donations to be as wide as possible.
This means accepting cash, credit and debit, checks, bitcoin, or whatever. Your main purpose in this pursuit is to give your prospective donors all the tools and donation channels available to contribute to your cause without issue.
If you need a little help corralling fundraising donations or just need a few more ideas on how to boost your coffers, let us know in the comments below!