Your fraternity or sorority provides significant value to members, from social events and educational events to general resources and help throughout the year. This value comes with a cost—and it’s one that’s likely not covered by membership fees alone.
That’s where fundraising events come into play.
Fundraising events are perfectly suited to fraternities and sororities as they not only raise essential funds for chapter management, but they provide a great opportunity for members to connect with one another, alumni, and other students on campus.
However, this is only true if you host the right fundraising event—one that not only engages guests but also has high revenue potential. To help your team begin brainstorming for the upcoming school year, this guide will discuss four top fundraising event ideas for fraternities and sororities:
- Alumni Auction
- Battle of the Bands
The start of the school year is quickly approaching, meaning that it’s time for your event planning committee to get busy with planning your fundraising events. There’s little time to waste, so let’s dive in!
Alumni fundraising is powerful because not only do alumni already have an established connection to your organization, but they also likely have greater spending power than students on campus. One of the best fundraising ideas to make the most of this increased spending power is an alumni auction, since you can auction off top-dollar items and raise significant donations.
Here’s how an auction generally works:
- Your fundraising committee goes out into your community, procuring donated items to auction off.
- You market the auction to alumni, who then purchase tickets to join in on the fun.
- At the auction, alumni place bids on items that appeal to them. At the end of the night, the highest bidders win!
- Alumni purchase the items they’ve won for the winning bid amount.
The event concludes, and your team follows up with thank-you notes to both donors and alumni attendees!
These are just the bare-bones steps to hosting an alumni auctions. There are numerous ways to spice up the event, whether you host it in-person or virtually. For example, you could include live music and serve a delicious meal at an in-person auction, or hire a fast-talking auctioneer to keep alumni engaged from home with a virtual event.
And, while it can be more challenging to coordinate an event with alumni guests, your organization’s management software can assist in the process. OmegaFi’s guide to fraternity and sorority management software discusses essential features that could help your organization host this type of event, including event planning, mass communication, and financial tracking.
Encourage a little friendly competition between fraternities and sororities on your campus by hosting a sports tournament fundraiser.
With a sports tournament fundraiser, each organization involved forms a team to compete. Then, all teams come together during the event to battle head-to-head! Team-specific outdoor sports work best for this fundraiser, such as volleyball, soccer, basketball, or even all-day field day events that have multiple mini competitions within them.
To host this event, you simply need to choose a day and coordinate with your university to reserve an open field on campus for that date.
There are a few different ways to raise funds through a sports tournament.
First, you could host a peer-to-peer fundraiser alongside the event, with each team competing to raise the most peer-to-peer funds. Then, you’d award both the team that wins the tournament and the team that raises the most funds at the end of the event!
Second, you could create t-shirts that are branded for the event and sell them across campus. Then, students can represent their favorite team at the event while raising funds for your organization!
Battle of the Bands
Did you know that college towns are historically creative epicenters when it comes to rising bands and solo musicians? This is especially true for college towns with a thriving fraternity and sorority presence—after all, sororities and fraternities on your campus probably hire these local bands for events on a regular basis!
Recruit some of the most talented, popular local bands to compete in a battle of the bands fundraiser. To plan this event, you need to secure a venue that is amenable to loud music and appoint a few musically-savvy judges to crown the winning band at the end of the night.
The revenue from this event comes from event guests purchasing tickets to attend. You can also sell food and drinks throughout to raise additional funds or even incorporate a “Crowd Favorite” element, with guests purchasing tickets to vote for their favorite performance of the night.
Last but certainly not least, you can partner with your fellow fraternities and sororities to host a carnival.
For the carnival, each organization would create a unique booth. For example, all of the following booth ideas would be fairly easy to host and align well with the carnival atmosphere:
- A food-based booth featuring classic carnival foods like fried oreos, elephant ears, or hot dogs.
- An art-based booth featuring face painting or t-shirt painting.
- Carnival game booths, such as pick a duck, balloon pop, or bobbing for apples.
For this event, you can charge a fee for admission and split the overall proceeds across organizations. Further, each booth could accept donations for participation in their booth’s activity.
The best part of this fundraising event is that it can also be a powerful recruitment tool. If you host it around the beginning of the school year, you could open the event up to students all across campus and connect with potential new members as a result.
If you’ve arrived to the end of this guide and still don’t feel like you’ve found the right idea for your sorority or fraternity, don’t stress! This is just a small sample of fundraising event ideas that could work well for your organization. There are a ton of additional resources available online (like this NXUnite guide to unique fundraising ideas that you can use to continue brainstorming if needed!
Remember that regardless of the type of event you choose to host, your sorority or fraternity management software will play a crucial role in the event’s success. From managing event planning tasks, to empowering outreach, to tracking all financial elements, it’s important to have your software solution solidified before you start fundraising. If your current solution isn’t up to the task, it’s worthwhile to start your event planning by searching for a tool that is!
Special thanks to Mathew Tooker for the expert advice. Mathew Tooker is an expert in sales forecasting, analytics, goal-setting, client growth, and business development. With experience serving the Greek life community, nonprofits, and other member-based associations, Mathew is dedicated to providing tremendous value to his clients.
When he’s not moving organizations forward, you can find him on the golf course, spending time with his two dogs, Reagan and Teddy, running marathons, and watching the Atlanta Braves. He’s also a graduate of Auburn University and a part-time MBA student at Florida State University.
With extensive experience serving the Greek life community, Mathew is dedicated to providing value to clients and fraternity and sorority members alike. Mathew's expertise is in sales forecasting, goal setting, client growth initiatives and business development and analytics. When he is not laser focused on moving organizations forward, you can find him spending time with his wife, Lauren, and two dogs, Reagan and Teddy, running marathons and watching the Atlanta Braves and Auburn sports.