There are a number of ways fraternities can approach fundraising projects, but by far one of the most popular strategies is to host a fundraising event. After all, a fundraising event allows brothers to gather together, get to know each other, create memories, and make a difference.
But there are a lot of moving parts to manage when it comes to hosting a fundraising event, from attendee comfort level to your marketing strategy. In this mini guide, we’ll provide a few tips that will help you host successful fundraising events that benefit your community and strengthen your fraternity chapter:
- Determine the target audience for your event.
- Create an event planning committee.
- Provide user-friendly donation tools.
- Offer your target audience multiple options for involvement.
OmegaFi’s guide to fraternity and sorority management stresses the importance of having everyone in your chapter play a role in initiatives like fundraising events. As you plan a memorable and profitable fundraising event, remember to invite all your brothers—from newly-initiated members to alumni—to get involved.
Let’s get started!
1. Determine the target audience for your event.
One of the most important initial planning steps for a fundraising event is to identify the target audience for that event. Here are a few examples of typical groups you might invite to your event:
- Community members
- Current student members
- Potential student members
Who your audience is will guide the rest of your planning decisions. After all, an event for potential new members going through the recruitment process will look different than an alumni-focused event.
Once you know who you’re targeting for your event, you should kickstart the donor journey by posting a “save the date” message on your website and social media channels. As more event details come together through the planning process, you can share them with your target audience!
2. Create an event planning committee.
Lay a strong foundation for your fundraising events by creating a fundraising event planning committee. Elect a chairperson to lead the committee and then invite brothers to get involved as committee members.
The brothers who serve on this committee will be responsible for numerous aspects of your fundraising events:
- Fundraising Goal. Since you’ll be raising money during your event, you should have a dollar amount that you’re reaching for. Strive to set a goal that is realistic but that will push you to pull out all the stops when it comes to asking for donations.
- Budget: Your chapter treasurer is responsible for determining how your fundraising event will fit into your annual or semester budget. But your event planning committee will need to decide how best to spend the money specifically allocated for putting on the event. You can use financial management software to make this process easier for everyone.
- Logistics: Your committee will need to think through all the details of your event. This will include elements such as the venue, food, decorations, activities, and sponsors. Dole out specific logistics assignments to different committee members, and check back often to ensure everything is on track well ahead of your event.
- Marketing: To get people attending your event, you’ll need to spread the word about it. According to CharityBids’ guide to nonprofit event planning, it’s best practice to use a multichannel marketing approach, so make sure you’re considering both print and digital options.
As you plan your fundraising event, ensure that your planning reflects your fraternity’s larger goals and values. This will ensure that your event helps you maintain a rapport between your chapter and your community of supporters.
3. Provide user-friendly donation tools.
To meet the fundraising goal you set during the planning process, you’ll need to offer your event attendees the best possible donation experience. You can do so by providing them with easy-to-use donation tools.
Here are a few popular options offer during fundraising events and how they work:
- An online donation page: A donation page can be directly embedded on your website. To get donors to it, you’ll simply share the link (you can even do so before and after your event!). The donation page should be optimized so event attendees can quickly and securely enter their donation and payment information.
- A text-to-give platform: Mobile giving has become increasingly popular with the ubiquity of mobile devices. With text-to-give, your attendees can text a keyword to a dedicated number and receive a link to a mobile-optimized donation form that they can then use to complete their gift.
- A peer-to-peer fundraising tool: Peer-to-peer fundraising puts your fraternity’s supporters in the driver’s seat. With a peer-to-peer tool, you can equip your event attendees with their own personal donation pages, which they then use to solicit donations from their personal networks of family and friends. A peer-to-peer fundraising tool is especially useful for a-thon style events (walk-a-thons, dance-a-thons, etc.) where your event attendees gather pledges before completing an activity.
With the right tools, your event attendees will have an easy time donating to your chapter’s fundraiser. When introducing your donation tools to your event attendees, be sure to provide clear instructions for using them so everyone who wants to give can complete their gift!
4. Offer your target audience multiple options for involvement.
To retain your event attendees’ support for future campaigns and events, it’s important to offer them multiple options for how they can get involved with your fraternity chapter’s event. This will deepen their investment and encourage them to continue to engage with your chapter. For example, your planning committee might be focused on how to boost alumni giving during your event, but what about inviting alumni to volunteer at your event, as well?
On top of volunteering, members of your target audience may be interested in sponsoring your event, serving as an emcee or auctioneer, or even providing entertainment for your event.
However your supporters participate in your event, be sure to thank them for their contributions! A thoughtful thank-you can go a long way in making a great impression with a supporter that will encourage them to engage with your chapter again.
Running your fraternity’s fundraising events can be a rewarding experience for members who are looking to give back to their communities. But with the planning process comes many obstacles. Follow the advice in this guide to ensure your chapter’s next fundraising event goes smoothly and helps you meet your fundraising goals!