The ABC’s of Fundraising for Convention

Some of the top fundraising chapters are sharing their secrets with you for earning big bucks that will take you all the way to Kansas City, Missouri, for Phi Theta Kappa’s centennial celebration and annual convention, PTK Catalyst 2018. So here’s your chance to learn their ABC’s of Fundraising.


Apparel Sales
“Our chapter sells t-shirts…LOTS of t-shirts,” said Gigi Delk, advisor for the Alpha Omicron Chapter at Tyler Junior College in Texas. “It’s a great way to get everyone involved!”

She said the group started small, designed one shirt, sold them all and put the profit back into more inventory. Members, alumni, and faculty also wear the t-shirts around campus to raise awareness for Phi Theta Kappa.

“It’s important to find a vendor that buys in to Phi Theta Kappa initiatives and will work with the chapter on pricing and ways to cut costs so they can make as much of a profit as possible,” Delk added. “Alpha Omicron uses the t-shirt money to purchase food, pay for travel expenses, and provide member scholarships for students who can’t afford the fees.”

Duane Oakes, advisor to the Omicron Beta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Mesa Community College in Arizona, said hosting silent auctions has raised nearly $2,000 annually for the chapter.

Oakes has carefully documented the process, providing a calendar, to-do list, and best practices, so information can be easily passed on from one group of chapter officers to another.

Linda McFate, advisor of the Eta Gamma Chapter at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, said their chapter maintains three accounts — a chapter activity account from funds they raise and receive from the Student Government Association; the administrative board account, which represents Phi Theta Kappa as a line item in the college vice president’s budget; and the college foundation account, which provides funding to send members to the Honors in Action Conference and PTK Catalyst.


McFate said her chapter also partners with the college bookstore on Better World Books projects.

“We sent over 50 boxes this spring, so hopefully that will be a nice check,” she said. “We try to do fundraising projects that require no ‘start up’ investment other than our time and effort.”

In Pennsylvania, Jennifer St. Pierre, advisor at Harris Area Community College, said her chapter is assisted by its Alpha Nu Omega Alumni Association and generous funding from the HACC Foundation.

“Members also sell wooden roses at inductions and commencement,” she said. “They are especially popular in the spring because graduation is usually close to Mother’s Day, so they buy them for multiple purposes.”

Bald Heads
Last spring Portland Community College advisor DeLinda Martin-Huggins, who also serves as Rocky Mountain-Cascade Regional Coordinator, found herself in a position to make a very unique contribution to the chapter’s fundraising efforts.

“Our raffle sales were running a little slow, so I volunteered to let one of the members shave my head if we made at least $500 from the raffle,” she said. “We raised $760, and it has definitely shortened my morning routine!”


McFate said there is one major fundraiser the chapter really cleans up on, netting about $2,500 per semester.

“We clean the football stadium after Saturday games for $150 per night, and we clean the gym after basketball games,” she said. “The clean-ups go quickly and we usually have adequate help from our members.”

The chapter earns an additional $500 for cleaning up the block-long area of concession stands at the inter-state fair and rodeo.

Chili Sales
Are your students tired of campus food options? Consider providing an alternative. Vickie Taylor, advisor for the Upsilon Phi Chapter at Danville Community College in Virginia, said her chapter has hosted successful chili fundraisers on campus.

“We buy the chili at Sam’s Club for a very low price,” she said. “All we need is somewhere to heat the food, so this is easy to do.”

Color Run
Beta Iota Epsilon advisor Becky Baird said their chapter’s Color Run fundraiser may have gotten off to a slow start, but it ended in a photo finish on campus at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home.

“We were supposed to run on St. Patrick’s Day, but had thunderstorms,” Baird said. “But, two weeks later we went ahead with the event and had 35 runners, including our college president.”


Taylor said another favorite fundraiser for her chapter is doing 50/50 drawings, and drawings for baskets of goodies donated by various businesses and faculty.

Raffle tickets normally sell for $1 each, with an incentive for multiple purchases. The ‘take’ is tallied and one-half awarded to the holder of the lucky number. In a 50-50 raffle fundraising, your group gets to keep exactly 50% of all the money raised.

People are always happy with a chance to win a cash prize, and it’s usually easy to get people to spend a little bit of money when they have a chance to win quite a bit more.

Department Store Gift Wrap
Mary Linder, advisor of the Omicron Psi Chapter at Grayson County College in Texas, said her chapter developed a relationship with the local Belk department store and offers gift-wrapping services for 3-4 days during the holiday season. Chapter members don’t charge, but invite donations.

“We easily raise over $1,000,” she said. “We just schedule our officers and members for different shifts throughout the day.”

Duck Dash
The Alpha Epsilon Epsilon Chapter at Delaware Technical Community College-Owens Campus hosted a “Duck Dash” fundraiser in which participants purchased rubber ducks to compete in a floating race.


California advisor Myriam Moody’s chapter at Southwestern College hosts a car show on campus annually, presenting prizes for the best cars and charging vendors $25 for booth space. Some of Moody’s other fundraising suggestions include restaurant nights in which the chapter receives a portion of each sale.

Alpha Omicron Omicron at Mid-Michigan Community College showed the movie “Beauty and the Beast” on campus for local families in the community. While admission was free, the chapter profited from concession sales and dressed up like the characters to meet and take photos with guests.

Everlasting Love
No one wants to forget their loved ones on Valentine’s Day, so why not make your chapter a convenient campus shopping stop for this holiday? The Alpha Nu Epsilon Chapter at Northwestern Connecticut Community College sold greeting cards and valentine candy in addition to themed baked goods and raffled off a $50 gift certificate provided by a local salon.


Faculty Pie in the Face
Your college faculty could be one of your best fundraising targets — literally. Both Huggins and Taylor said their chapters had benefitted from “Pie in the Faculty Face” fundraisers. Taylor said the faculty at Danville Community College pay not to be “pied.”

Huggins said the Rocky Mountain-Cascade does a pie in the face fundraiser at both the fall Honors in Action Conference and spring convention. Raffle ticket purchasers vote on the top three regional team members to get pied.

“It’s a lot of fun, the members enjoy the experience, and the regional team has a friendly competition — we consider it an honor to get pied,” Huggins said. “The money raised pays for registration/travel grants for our chapters that may not be able to attend the conferences due to financial hardships.”

Flocking Flamingos
The Alpha Epsilon Epsilon Chapter uses flocks of flamingos to raise funds. Members get pre-orders from supporters to have one or more of their friends “flamingoed.” In the dead of the night, members place the flamingos in the yards along with a note explaining how a friend of theirs paid to have them flocked. For a donation members will remove the flock and send it to the yard of any friend they choose, allowing the fundraiser to continue to feed on itself as the flamingos migrate.

Fruit Farming
Obviously McFate and the Eta Gamma Chapter in Kansas do a lot of fundraising, but they may be one of the only PTK chapters to use fruit farming as a moneymaker in addition to all their other efforts.

“We pick sand hill plums and sell them to a winery in Oklahoma where they make honey, jam, and jelly,” McFate said. “This usually nets about $600.”

Put some of these fundraising ideas to use in your chapter, and register now for PTK Catalyst 2018. We can’t wait to see you there for the #PTKPartyOfTheCentury!

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