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Can You Improve Your Greek Fundraising Goal Setting in 30 Minutes or Less?


Successful Greek fundraising goal setting means establishing specific campaign and project goals that are both measurable and attainable. Capital campaigns are major endeavors for any alumni/ae association or housing corporation. Thus, Greek fundraising goal setting takes time, effort, and precision. And, as you’ve likely learned if you’ve ever managed a capital campaign, spending less time planning now means spending more time later fixing mistakes.

The question that many organizations face is how to do what top major nonprofits do—that is, assemble and execute a massive-scale capital fundraising campaign with a goal of $1 million or more—with a volunteer staff who all lead busy lives.

Certainly, there’s no panacea to all your fundraising challenges. However, there are proven methods that can make the lives of you and your campaign managers and solicitors much easier in the long run.

Can you achieve campaign success quickly and easily? The answer is, unfortunately, no. However, ask yourself this: Can You Improve Your Greek Fundraising Goal Setting in 30 Minutes or Less? 

Yes, we believe you can. Here are a few steps that can help.

Getting Specific about Greek Fundraising Goals

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A long-term fundraising goal might be, for instance, to raise a minimum $1.5 million for a chapter house project over the course of your campaign.

Yet, this larger goal is not achievable without first understanding the smaller incremental steps you must achieve along the way, and the hurdles you face for each.

  • How much do you expect to garner in gifts in Q1 of year one of your campaign? How much in Q2, or Q3, and so on?
  • Who are your top donors, and what sort of gift can you expect from each, based on research and your donor database of biographical/professional information and past gifts? 
  • How much do you need in cash up front versus pledges? 
  • Is there a cost associated with soliciting donors (travel costs to speak in person; the cost of holding a “return-to-campus” event, such as homecoming; producing marketing materials)?
  • Have you mapped out an engagement and solicitation strategy? Why should potential donors give to your campaign? What connects donors to their chapter and university, how will gifts help the chapter thrive, and what stake do donors have in undergrads’ success?

Answering these questions helps you form concrete goals for your fundraising

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For instance, you might now say confidently that you want to use a sequential fundraising strategy, raising 20% of your fundraising total in the first quarter by targeting the biggest potential donors first. Next, you’ll raise an additional 18% in the second quarter.  You’ll raise 16% in Q3, and so on. 

You’ve set up an annual homecoming fundraising event and will market your campaign and engage donors via newsletter, email, social media, and phone calls. You’ve targeted alumni/ae you want to tap as volunteer solicitors, campaign managers, and those whose professional services can help you complete your project goals.

In short, you now know where you’re going and how to get there.

Setting Project Goals to Boost Fundraising

Many potential Greek donors already want to contribute to their chapter and university. Yet, having concrete project goals and planning in place will help you show donors that a specific campaign is worthwhile and feasible, and that it will help the chapter in tangible ways.

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Here are some steps you can take to provide donors with real data on the feasibility of your project:

  • For a chapter house renovation/remodel project, do a facility audit. What is the maintenance condition of the property? What are the most pressing concerns (study areas, dining hall, safety and security features, or other rooms or amenities that will facilitate success for current members and future recruits)?
  • After contacting architects, engineers, contractors, etc. who are experienced in Greek housing, what can you expect in terms of itemized costs? Compare pro forma operating/project costs with those which will likely rely on revenue from your association and incoming donor gifts.
  • How does this project address the shifting university housing expectations of students, parents, and the Greek and university communities as a whole? 
  • Conduct an audit of your association’s operations. Can you show donors that you’re financially and managerially stable?
  • What’s the tangible versus intangible value? What does improving this communal space mean to members and alumni/ae alike?

Measuring Greek Fundraising Success

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You’ve set your goals. You’re ready to go out and hit the streets, so to speak. But how do you track and measure success along the way? 

How do you know when you’re on track versus when you’re on the path to campaign failure?

Understanding Greek fundraising’s Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, can be a crucial part of accurately measuring your expectations and progress.

Here are a few KPIs to help you measure and attain your goals.

Total Donor Participation

To determine your donor participation rate, first determine your potential donor pool

Subtract those you have bad data on, undergrads, parents, and friends who are in your database from your potential donor pool, unless you have a compelling reason not to. 

Then apply this ratio: donors (numerator) / potential donors (denominator)

You can also measure donor participation based on era (number of years out of college) or other factors.

Fundraising Efficiency

You can use this KPI to determine whether you’re deploying resources effectively. Use the cost of marketing materials, travel, operating costs, or other costs to calculate the return on investment.

Apply this ratio: total costs (numerator) / total raised (denominator)

It’s also important to determine the totals of different types of gifts received, whether cash gifts, pledges, planned gifts (such as gifts which are part of an estate), or in-kind gifts (donated goods/services).

Dollars per Solicitor/Close Rate for Volunteers

You can track dollars raised per solicitor according to each dollar in the door and attributing it to a specific person or appeal. 

To determine your close rate, apply this ratio: number of successful donor acquisitions (numerator) / the number of potential donors solicited (denominator) x 100

You can then calculate these ratios for various channels of engagement, such as email, newsletter, physical mail, text, and phone calls, to determine which are most effective.

At the end of the day, detailed planning, setting achievable goals, and measuring your campaign progress are major fundraising goal setting tools to help lead you to campaign success.

It can lead to new insights and new approaches to fundraising you may not have otherwise discovered.

Pennington offers professional solutions for Greek letter chapters for capital campaign fundraising. Learn more about our services or call direct at 785-843-1661.

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