If you’re part of a sorority or fraternity or an alum of a fraternal organization, you know that an important element of your Greek life is fundraising for your organization. But that doesn’t make you an expert in fundraising. Don’t worry: we’re here to help.
Here at CauseVox, we’ve seen plenty of sororities and fraternities create amazing and successful fundraisers.
To help you out, we’re going to share some of the best practices we’ve learned through those fundraisers, then share examples of the types of fundraisers you can try. Let’s take a look at how you can create an amazing fundraiser for your sorority or fraternity.
Best Practices For Fraternity and Sorority Fundraising
As a member or alum of a sorority or fraternity, this may be your first time dipping into the world of fundraising. That’s ok! There are some helpful tips and tricks that can help you be successful.
Plus, having the built-in structure of your sisters and brothers makes this a great place to start in your fundraising journey. Here are 6 of our best practices that will supercharge any sorority or fraternity fundraiser:
1. It’s Who You Know
One of the things that sets sorority and fraternity fundraising apart from other types of fundraising is that you have a built-in audience. Current members plus alumni are all motivated to support your organization. You can take advantage of this network by asking members and alums to become peer-to-peer fundraisers.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is an incredibly powerful form of fundraising because it relies on the networks of your supporters. It becomes exponentially more powerful as each fundraiser reaches out to their networks. Your members and alumns can act as those fundraisers with very little effort on your part.
One of the hallmarks of Greek life is tradition. These are institutions that have existed for decades if not centuries in some cases. You’re proud to be a part of that tradition, and you can tap into traditions to help raise money.
Alumnae of Delta Sigma Theta tapped into the spirit of tradition for their Founders Day Challenge. They shared “ We want to continue the legacy of scholarship and public service established by our 22 founders, while continuing to meet the needs of our community.” They also relied on a tradition that had been around for over a hundred years: their Founders Day.
If you have a similar event or tradition that is a part of your chapter, consider adding a fundraising component. Your members and their networks will be familiar with it, and the sense of history will help the fundraiser to have gravitas and importance.
3. Be Specific
Some fundraisers are simply to support an organization. They ask for donations, but those donations go into the general pot of operating funds, programs, and anything else the organization may need.
Those kinds of fundraisers aren’t bad, but it’s much more effective to be specific when you’re raising money.
If you need to update your chapter house, fund scholarships, or complete a particular project, a fundraiser that’s dedicated to raising those funds will be quite effective.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon at Western Kentucky University created a fundraising campaign dedicated to making adjustments to their house. They shared that they would be using the funds to make updates to deal with COVID, and to add a new roof. These specific and tangible details helped donors understand what they were giving to.
Who doesn’t love a bit of healthy competition? You know that the members of your chapter love each other, but also love games and competitions. You can use that love of competition to make your fundraisers even more effective. When you add in your alumni, that competition can grow even larger.
Run a peer-to-peer fundraiser and offer prizes for the top fundraisers. Maybe the winner gets first choice of bedrooms next year, or gets to choose the theme for your next mixer. Think about what things your members really care about and offer those as prizes. You’ll be surprised how fast they start bringing in dollars. You could also consider pitting graduating years against each other to bring in your alumni.
The graduating year with the highest fundraising total gets to name a room in your updated building, or something of that sort.
You could even partner with another fraternal organization to run a competition. Who wouldn’t love to see a frat vs. sorority fundraising showdown?
5. Be Visible
As an organization that lives on a campus, you have a built-in audience. Don’t miss out on that audience by only advertising to members or alums. What does that mean? Let’s use an example to explain.
The Little Black Dress Initiative is something that Junior Leagues around the world do. They encourage fundraisers to choose one black dress and wear it for a full week to raise awareness of poverty. This fundraiser is specific to Junior Leagues, but think about how you could use a similar concept to draw attention to your fundraising.
Is there a specific outfit your fundraisers can wear? A pin? Can you hang flyers or hand out information? Think about how you can gain attention on campus and then use that in your favor.
6. Information Is Power
Once you’ve created a fundraiser that you think will be effective, the best thing you can do is provide strategies and details to your chapter members.
Especially if you’re planning a peer-to-peer fundraiser, you want to arm your members and your alumni with all the tools they need to be successful fundraisers.
Our favorite way to do that is with a fundraising toolkit.
What is a peer-to-peer fundraising toolkit? It’s a resource that has all of the information, tools, and strategies your fundraisers need.
We would include:
- Brand guidelines
- Graphics and logos
- Suggested fundraising timeline and strategies
- Templates for social posts and emails
- Information about the event and the cause
As a sorority or fraternity, you can even go one step further. Since your members are all located in the same place, you can have a meeting to train your members in fundraising.
Think about scheduling this during your weekly meetings where you check in with participants to see how their fundraising is going and answer any questions they may have. When you give them more information and show that you’re just as invested as they are, it helps to supercharge their fundraising.
Sorority and Fraternity Fundraising Ideas
Here’s the fun part: now that you have some best practices to help you run an amazing fundraiser, let’s talk about what types of fundraisers you can run. Don’t be afraid to get creative. The more your fundraiser stands out, the more people will be excited to participate. Here are some of our favorite ideas.
1. Volunteer Together
It’s common for sororities and fraternities to volunteer as a group. But you can also turn that volunteer work into a fundraiser.
Plan a volunteer activity together and ask your friends, family, and other connections to donate in support of the volunteer work.
Think about how you can tie the two together: let’s say your sorority decides to plant trees. You could ask for a set amount for every tree you plant.
2. Campus Event
We’re still in the midst of COVID, so in-person events are a big no-no. But once we have the go-ahead to meet in person, campus events are a fantastic away to build community, get the name of your organization out there, and raise money.
You could create faux Olympic games as a peer-to-peer fundraiser, do a sleep-out, or host a costume contest.
3. Spirit Wear
This is a wonderful example of how you could use the premise of the Little Black Dress Initiative but change it to fit your sorority or fraternity.
If you have colors, logos, or other spirit wear specific to your chapter, encourage members to wear all spirit wear for a week. You can use this push to gain attention on campus, while also asking for donations in honor of your chapter pride.
4. Dance Marathon
A dance marathon is a classic fundraiser. Snag a space on campus, set a time frame, and see who can keep dancing the longest. You can ask each participant to fundraise and award prizes to the top fundraisers (like a chance to take a break for a song). During COVID, you can even make your dance marathon virtual by hosting your dancers through Zoom.
5. Walkathon or 5k Run
A 5K is one of our favorite versions of the peer-to-peer fundraiser, and it’s one that goes over really well on a college campus.
Recruit runners from the student body and have them serve as your champions, raising money in support of their run. If you want to make it a virtual event to keep things socially distanced, you can offer a specific time frame for people to walk or run the 5K, or you can host the event on campus on a specific day.
Participants can set up their fundraising pages and raise money from friends, family, and other supporters.
6. Alumni Ask
Alpha Delta Pi alumnae organized this fundraiser to support the sorority with COVID requirements.
Don’t forget to include your alumni in your fundraising work! While your current members probably aren’t rolling in dough (welcome to college life) those who have graduated may be in a better financial position to support your fraternal organization. Consider asking your members to make personal phone calls to alumni asking for donations and sharing updates on what’s happening in the organization right now.
7. Building Expansion Or Improvement Campaign
We touched on this concept earlier when we talked about focusing on a specific ask: creating a fundraising campaign around adding or improving to your fraternal organization house is a wonderful and targeted way to bring in donations.
Alpha Gamma Delta ran a fundraiser to support updates to the house, made necessary by COVID.
Especially if your chapter is growing and you need to expand your building, you can use your success to fuel your fundraising. Ask alumni, friends, family, and connections to help support your organization.
8. Founder’s Day
Remember when we said traditions were great? Here’s a fundraising campaign that draws on tradition and will work for any fraternal organization.
Especially if you currently celebrate the day that your organization was founded, a Founder’s Day fundraiser will go a long way. Identify the day that your organization came into being, and focus a fundraising campaign around it.
It can be particularly fun to play with numbers here: if your organization has been around for 50 years, ask folks to donate $50. Think about how you can connect to the past of your organization and incorporate it into your fundraising.
Power Up Your Sorority or Fraternity Fundraiser With CauseVox
CauseVox helps you raise more with less effort for any fundraiser your sorority or fraternity is running. We’ll help you:
- Launch a branded campaign with no IT person required
- Get your chapters to fundraise with easy, < 60 setup fundraising pages + seamlessly collect registration fees
- Get more donors with < 15-second donation forms + Apple/Google Pay options
- + more
Book a 1-1 Demo with our team to chat about how CauseVox can help you raise more through your virtual fundraising event.