A sorority fundraising campaign may seem like one of the biggest tasks your chapter has undertaken since you’ve become a sister.
In some ways, it probably is.
It’s definitely daunting to stare a huge fundraising goal in the face, such as the amount of money you would need to buy or renovate a sorority house.
But fear not, brave sisters. It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to fundraising. There are proven techniques to running a successful capital fundraiser campaign, and there are dedicated professional sorority fundraising companies who can help you. These companies provide services such as assessing the feasibility of your fundraising goals and project, project planning, providing long-term strategies for engaging alumnae and reaching your goals, as well as managing alumnae donations over a fundraising period that can typically stretch from three to five years.
Fundraising is a major undertaking that demands major resources from your chapter and others involved, such as the housing corporation, national sorority, volunteer alumnae and any fundraising professionals you hire to assist. And it would be infinitely more difficult--as most things in and out of sorority life are these days--without the use of technology and software.
In terms of fundraising, what can software offer a sorority chapter to enhance the campaign experience and help guide them toward successfully reaching their goals? That’s exactly what Pennington & Company would like to explore with you now. Let’s talk about Sorority Fundraising in the Software Age.
Sorority Fundraising and the Art of the Webpage
Aside from a sorority chapter newsletter, which can be produced electronically as a way to periodically engage with alumnae on a more general basis, building a webpage that’s tailored specifically to your chapter, and can be used as an outlet for promoting your fundraising project, is a key part of a successful capital campaign in the digital age.
Here are some basic components to consider including in a webpage for your sorority chapter:
- Updated articles that focus on alumnae and chapter success
- An updated event calendar
- A searchable alumnae database
- E-mail blasts
It’s important not only to develop a chapter webpage but to actively maintain it, with connectivity to social media platforms and other types of software that may be integrated to optimize your page.
Think of your webpage as the face you present to not only the online world of potential recruits, but to your alumnae as well. Offering alumnae access to information and ways to interact with your fundraising campaign online is a great first step toward boosting your fundraiser’s visibility. And visibility is the name of the game in fundraising.
Give Alumnae the Tools, and They’ll Give to Your Sorority Fundraiser
It’s a fact sororities must live with that not all alumnae are going to give to your fundraising campaign, and a handful will give a bulk of your goal while others will give smaller amounts. Alumnae are not robots, after all, and they’re inclined to give different amounts at different times, based on what they feel is appropriate for them.
Bottom line: Sisters should be grateful for every dime and let alumnae hear them say it loud and clear.
How donations are managed plays a key role not only in whether alumnae will give now, but if they’ll give in the future as well. What you want to do as a chapter is remove any and all barriers alumnae might face to giving to your campaign.
One way to do this is to engage professional fundraising experts who can help lend structure and online accessibility for alumnae giving. This means efforts such as record keeping and payment reminders and acknowledgements, past-due notices and campaign audits to maintain detailed tracking of alumnae giving. It means studying trends in giving and understanding the donor landscape.
A fundraising company will typically engage in both direct mail notices and communications with alumnae, as well as electronic software-based communication and tracking. Alumnae should always have the option to give electronically to a centralized capital fund, in the vein of online banking and payments. This type of electronic payment system also opens up other options and flexibility in alumnae giving. Let’s discuss.
Good Sorority Fundraisers Let Alumnae Give on Their Own Terms
One important aspect of sorority fundraising in the software age is not only accessibility, but adaptability. For instance, if you only ask for a lump sum from alumnae upfront for your fundraising efforts, you’re likely to get a lot of no’s. However, if you give alumnae the ability to give in incremental, smaller amounts, you may get those who were on the fence to commit.
This is called recurring or automated alumnae donations, and the benefits are various. This kind of customizable giving transfers control of alumnae donations from the chapter over to alumnae themselves, empowering them to give in a capacity that is comfortable and appropriate for them and their needs. Not only does it allow alumnae to engage meaningfully over the long-term life of a campaign and beyond, it also will increase the average amount of donations your chapter will garner. Using online software, alumnae can customize a start and end date to giving, can set an amount at a monthly or other interval, and automate payments so you don’t have to constantly remind them when their pledged donations are needed.
Recurring, automated donations may not be an option every alumna chooses when giving to your fundraising campaign, but trust us: Many will be glad you’re offering them the option.
To some, the digital world is all about optimizing and maximizing your success and bottom line through software and online presence. But if you ask us, the more significant use of technology is to enhance human relationships and endeavors. If nothing else, what you’re trying to build with your alumnae is a real and sustainable cross-generational relationship, something every sorority yearns for. It’s why young women come together in the first place on college campuses across the country, to build on the foundations of past sisters’ efforts. It’s something worth keeping in mind while Sorority Fundraising in the Software Age.
How have your sorority fundraising efforts gone in the past? Do you think software and technology can help? Let’s discuss in the comments below.