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Fundraising 101: Bring in Big Bucks for Your Chapter

Fundraising 101: Bring in Big Bucks for Your Chapter

PTK Catalyst is just around the corner, with Honors Institute shortly after that. Chances are that your chapter needs funds to support travel, programs, and everyday expenses. Don’t let a lack of cash stop you from reaching your goals — make a fundraising plan instead. Here are nine easy steps.

  1. Form a Team
    Set up a fundraising committee, asking interested members to volunteer. Discuss everyone’s abilities to see who is best suited for the various responsibilities such as marketing, organization, decoration, etc.
  2. Get Permission
    No matter what type of fundraising idea you choose, check with your college administration beforehand to get permission and complete any necessary paperwork.
  3. Set a Budget
    How much money does your chapter need? Do you have any up-front funds to get the fundraiser started? What free resources are available? Brainstorm ideas to host a fundraiser within your means.
  4. Who’s Your Target Audience?
    If most of your donations will come from other students, your campus is best place to host a fundraiser. If your target audience is the local community, develop something that’s appealing to them.
  5. Keep it Simple
    Keep your fundraiser simple and short. Students are busy with their studies, social life, and their own groups, so run a fundraiser that gives them something of value and doesn’t take up too much time.
  6. Organize Your Event
    Decide who will perform the necessary tasks, and when/where you’ll get needed supplies. Set a date when plenty of members will be available to work in shifts.
  7. Publicize in Advance
    Let people know when and where your fundraiser will take place, why your chapter is raising money, and how they will benefit from offering support. Posters and social media are good promotional tools.
  8. On Fundraising Day
    Make sure everything is in place. Do you have change for customers paying cash? Are you in a high-traffic area that is noticeable to passers-by?
  9. After the Fundraiser
    Thank every contributor, no matter how large or small the donation. Be courteous and polite; let them know their support is important to your chapter, and don’t forget to thank your volunteers too.

Chapter Ideas that Worked

So, what does this plan look like when put into action? We asked four chapters to share the secrets to their fundraising success.

Dress for Success

The Beta Tau Gamma Chapter at Pearl River Community College in Mississippi has built a prosperous fundraising model based on selling PTK t-shirts that identify members on campus while also marketing local businesses.

“Our 2013 officer team came up with the idea when they realized how much money it would take to send us to PTK Catalyst,” said advisor Dr. Ryan Ruckel, who also serves as Mississippi/Louisiana Regional Coordinator. “We have continued the idea every year, and we include local businesses as well as family and faculty who want to show support.”

Sponsors cover the cost of producing the shirts, which list contributing businesses and organizations on the back. Members promise to wear them on campus during certain days — a perfect example of providing a promotional reach and delivering advertising results.  


Crowdsourcing provides another way for chapters to engage others in providing revenue that will help them reach their goals. Jodi Oriel, an advisor at Monroe Community College in New York, said her Alpha Theta Iota Chapter utilized a video message to promote online fundraising in 2017 and plans to do the same this year.

“Our travel budgets were cut last year, and we worked with our MCC foundation to create a video appeal,” she said. “The students text, tweet, and push on Facebook to the family and friends to raise money for their trip to convention.”

Gift Baskets

Caleb Mertz, vice president of the Beta Iota Kappa Chapter at San Diego City College in California, said members were putting the finishing touches on last year’s Easter basket fundraiser when chapter president Nadia Escobar joked about giving herself one for Mother's Day. That’s when another fundraising idea was born.

“We offered three different gift baskets based on various roles our mothers had played in our lives —loving, caring, and glamorous,” he said. “We made sure the baskets were affordable enough that fellow students would be actually be able to buy them and give them to their mothers.”

Mardi Gras Madness

Casey Clemons, president of the Omicron Alpha Chapter at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College-Jefferson Davis Campus, said members were discussing possible fundraisers to help them get to PTK Catalyst 2018 when someone suggested doing a Mardi Gras/Valentine’s Day bake sale.

“We took the idea and ran with it,” he said. “We held a bake sale the Thursday before we left on the Mardi Gras break and it went wonderfully; we were even able to surpass our goal.” 

How does your chapter raise money? Share with us and explore more moneymaking tips for PTK Catalyst.

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