Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Dr. Annie Tuttle, New York Regional Coordinator and advisor to the Alpha Sigma Zeta Chapter at Onondaga Community College in New York.
Let’s face it: all Phi Theta Kappa chapters could use a little (or a lot of) help with funding, and your college foundation is the perfect place to start. College foundations exist to raise money to support scholarships, programs, and opportunities for the students on their campus. That’s you!
Asking for their support is easier than you think. I’ve broken it down into three simple steps.
Talk to your college president or college administration about the true financial needs of your chapter, as well as the personal financial limitations that often prevent students from becoming PTK members. When students can’t afford to join, they lose out on the benefits of membership like scholarship money, leadership development, and finding a home on campus.
It is often our most financially limited students who need the benefits that PTK can provide. Suggest to your college administration that your college foundation may be able/willing to help high-achieving students on your campus. Plant the seed.
Set up a meeting to discuss precisely how your college foundation can help high-achieving students on your campus. Let them know what the benefits of membership are — scholarship money, leadership development, even create some campus benefits like early-registration — and be sure to inform the foundation about the difference PTK makes in college graduation rates. Find data on the PTK completion rate, both nationally and in your state, by viewing these State Profiles.
When you go to the foundation, also let them know that your chapter works on a College Project and is continually working to better the college as a whole.
Be sure to let them know that many colleges around the country have successfully partnered with their college foundation, such as here at Onondaga Community College and at Schenectady County Community College, both in New York. PTK Headquarters can help you identify chapters who receive this type of support.
They may even help you find donors for other PTK initiatives. For example, because my chapter has created such a great relationship with our foundation, they recently secured a donor who will provide all members from our chapter with free commencement and PTK regalia.
Finally, ask your college foundation how your chapter can be of service to them. For example, volunteer for your chapter to help the foundation with events or fundraisers. Show the foundation that your chapter is willing to partner and help them achieve their goals, too. It can benefit the college foundation to have a go-to group of students to meet with donors and community partners.
Further, the college foundation can help PTK members pay it forward in the future. As alumni, PTK members (a.k.a. high-achieving students) are more likely to become potential donors in the future.
Overall, the idea is to help the foundation see that your chapter is making a difference in the lives of your students. This could inspire them, and they might be more willing to help with funding for your chapter.