The year 2018 will be one to remember.
Music artist Ariana Grande and SNL star Pete Davidson got engaged. Then they broke up.
And . . . well, if you think that’s depressing, let’s not get into the rest of what’s been happening in the world.
Here’s the good news: However much of a Dumpster fire the previous year has been, there’s a new one right around the corner.
What’s that you say? The demarcation of time is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things? All those resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking and take your juggling act on America’s Got Talent are dirty, filthy lies?
To that we reply: Quiet, you.
Because we’ve got a new type of new year’s resolution you can—and should—actually keep.
Committing as an alumna donor to a sorority annual campaign can help your chapter prosper through 2019 and beyond.
This is no idle wish you’ll end up dropping January 1st to go back to your favorite bad habits.
When it comes to chapter business, sorority alumnae and sisters should proudly display a higher level of dedication than your average chain smoker.
With fundraising at the center of so many important sorority functions, pledging to contribute in the new year can go a long way in providing sisters necessary benefits.
So, while you’re singing about old acquaintances, consider how giving to your chapter can make each semester better going forward.
Pennington & Company wants to help you Ring in the New Year with a Sorority Annual Campaign Resolution.
As of midnight December 31st, your chapter’s current fundraising plan doesn’t matter.
What matters is what you do with that plan moving forward.
If your chapter raised a lot of capital in 2018, make a toast at midnight. Then forget about it. Start over at zero.
Look. Our point isn’t to diminish your accomplishments. And yes, you’re right--gains from past fundraising can help move the goalpost.
But having a good year doesn’t mean your chapter should slack on fundraising this coming year, either by soliciting gifts less often or with less vigor.
Think of annual fundraising with the mindset of a sports star.
At the end of the day, you record matters. But if you start to focus on past accomplishments or too far into the future during a game, you’ll lose your focus and drive.
It takes consistent engagement for alumnae and sisters to enjoy fundraising success, and sorority capital campaign benefits extend only as far as the most recent gift.
Engage in Fundraising Year-Round
The most important part of your fundraising effort is that you stay engaged.
Both alumnae and sisters should strategize ways to keep fundraising momentum throughout the year.
Major campaigns or limited chapter fundraisers arise during the semester, and for these to be successful, you must fully engage.
Our research shows that infrequent engagement and seeking one-time gifts has a negative impact on gift giving, whereas consistent engagement and seeking pledges for smaller, recurring donations garners more over time.
Alumnae and sisters can work together to encourage long-term commitments to giving. Robust communication helps in this regard. A strong chapter newsletter helps, as well as a tiered donor list to recognize giving.
Members of the alumnae association and the undergraduate engagement chair both must work together on engagement initiatives. Officer turnover at the chapter level means consistent fundraising relies on alumnae to lead the charge in maintaining those relationships.
Between major campaigns, there are still many chapter goals to be accomplished, such as setting up a sorority scholarship fund or sponsoring sisters for conferences.
Giving to these efforts annually can illustrate the tangible chapter accomplishments your contributions make over time.
That’s a great feeling for sisters of all generations.
Sorority Capital Campaign Benefits of Consulting the Pros
A sorority capital campaign can be a major undertaking for a housing corporation and their chapter.
Take for example a sorority house renovation, a common campaign goal. Before your chapter even begins fundraising, you need to conduct a feasibility study, compare market values, consult builders and contractors and itemize costs, among other things.
Then the actual “fun” begins—months or years of fundraising efforts to reach a goal of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
With limited resources divided among various projects, your fellow alumnae and chapter members may quickly start pulling out their hair when you throw a campaign in the mix.
Professional fundraising consultants can take some of the burden off and guide you in managing a campaign.
But the real beauty is that these experts can help guide you beyond a single campaign when it comes to fundraising engagement.
They can help you build quality engagement that will make your campaign a success and last for many years thereafter.
Getting an outside perspective on your annual campaign and engagement efforts can help keep your ideas fresh and reinforce your strengths.
Set Yourself up for Campaign Success for Years to Come
Each new year is a chance to improve your annual campaign efforts and reap the benefits of your labors.
However, building a strong foundation and committing to annual giving now can help you reach goals faster and more often in the future. With momentum on your side, your fundraising can only grow stronger, smarter and more consistent.
You can ease the financial burden of a donor commitment by helping your chapter set up this system of recurring gifts and consistent engagement with your annual campaigns.
Once that system is in place, you won’t be the only one making and keeping a new year’s resolution to pledge annual campaign gifts. The easier it is to give, and the more involved alumnae donors are, the more they’ll want to contribute.
So let’s build the fundraising buzz for 2019 and get more alumnae donors on board. Seeing the chapter grow brick by brick with your help is a beautiful thing.
What sorority annual campaign benefits excite you most? What are your fundraising goals for the new year? Let’s drop that ball in the comments below.