How to Select a New Annual Fundraiser
Annual fundraisers are a wonderful tradition for sorority chapters, but sometimes a NEW event is needed. There are many things to consider before picking a new money raising project. Make sure you think things through, evaluate your resources and make wise decisions for your new philanthropy event.
First Things First...
- Assess how much “girl power” you have. Tailor your new fundraiser to the number of helping hands in your chapter. Don’t bite off more than you can chew with a massive event and not enough volunteers.
- Review the personality of your chapter and your campus. Are they the types to “go for it” with active races, marathons, or contests? Or are they more laid back, or even apathetic? Match the type of fundraiser to the energy level of your group, so can avoid your event falling flat.
- Calculate how much money you need to raise. Estimate a realistic fundraising goal. Is your campus flush? Or are most students strapped for cash? Will you solicit donations from outside the school, or it will be completely internal? All of these factors effect the fundraising possibilities.
- Make a budget! Do all your planning on paper before investing a dime in your new fundraising plan. Do your research and then create an income and expense spreadsheet that outlines all the financials. You will need to present this to the chapter leadership anyway, so it’s a necessary exercise. Your budget will be your blue print for future success.
- Look at the sorority sugar top 5 types of fundraisers below and see which kind will match your sorority and your budget the best……
• Choose From 5 Basic "Types" of Fundraisers •
- The Special Event fundraiser! These are labor intensive, but also a lot of fun and involve the most people. Some examples are: "Mr. Sorority Man" pageant, a fraternity/bachelor date auction, a fashion show with sisters as models, gala dinner/dance with silent auction, or a food festival/cooking competition. Food events are especially fun if it relates to your sorority, such as a strawberry festival for ZTA. Sports events like a charity walk, run, dance, cornhole contest, cheerleading competition, soccer match, softball game and golf tournament are popular too.
- The Contest fundraiser! Everyone loves a competition and it increases participation too. How about a greek cooler painting contest? Or a greek banner, wall or mural painting competition. Host a holiday costume contest for Halloween or Christmas. A gingerbread house building contest is fun. An American Idol style singing competition or talent show is popular on most campuses. Or how about a photography contest and juried art show depicting the best of greek at your university? Also fun ~ cooler races, pancake eating contest, chicken wing eating contest, tee-shirt relay races, or a “best of greek life” video production competition.
- The Logo Merchandise fundraiser! Can you design and sell a product to the entire greek community? Or sell something to lots of students on campus? For example, sell an all-greek beach towel, baseball cap, holiday ornament, tote bag, tumbler, etc. Or, have your local chapter develop a special product you can sell nationwide to just your organization. A custom art print created by a member with graphic design skills would be fabulous. Or how about a cute christmas ornament that becomes an annual fundraising tradition?
- The Product or Food fundraiser! Sell cookies, cupcakes, candy, doughnuts, floats, shakes, lemonade, gourmet popcorn, flowers, holiday-o-grams, pizzas, spaghetti dinners, greek letters, craft diy kits, bagels, breakfast-in-bed, gourmet coffee bar, pie slices, s'mores kits, gift baskets, smoothies, yogurt bar, make your own sundae bar, cake pops, holiday treat bags, grilled burgers, buttons, koozies, croakies, mac & cheese, quesadillas, etc.
- The Do-It-Yourself fundraiser! This category includes the reliable car wash (add a theme and costumes), publish a panhellenic cookbook or inspirational e-book with entries from each chapter, organize an on-campus food/gift delivery service for special occasions such as birthdays or Valentine’s Day. Create an all greek annual parade with decorated golf carts or floats (charge entry fees & award prizes). Organize a campus wide “recycling/re-use” sale, where students donate items ahead of time, your chapter hosts the re-sale event, and you earn money from selling the merchandise.
• Final Suggestions •
Check other chapters on Facebook to see what your sisters across the country are doing to fundraise. Sometimes the best ideas come from within your own organization. Read your national magazine for inspiration. Brainstorm fundraisers that specifically relate to your sorority’s designated philanthropy. Learn what your charity is involved with nationwide. It will help you discover some new and interesting fundraising ideas for your own chapter locally.