Fundraise Your Way to PTK Catalyst 2018

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Dr. Aariel Charbonnet, Phi Theta Kappa’s Manager of Member Support and Outreach, and Heather Yush, Phi Theta Kappa’s Director of Membership Services.

Phi Theta Kappa conferences and events are a membership benefit, and the cost associated with traveling and attending is not meant to be a barrier to access. Some, but certainly not all, chapters receive funding at the institutional level that can be used for these events. Others must rely heavily on creative fundraising efforts to bridge the gap.

Fundraising is a valuable skill and often allows members to engage in leadership, fellowship, and, at times, service. Attending PTK Catalyst 2018 means maximizing your membership at the international level. This #PTKPartyOfTheCentury will be one for the history books — literally.

Here are best practices from our recent webinars, Hosting a College Transfer Fair and Fundraise Your Way to PTK Centennial Catalyst. The former features leaders from the Texas Region and the New England Regional Alumni Association, and the latter features seasoned advisors with a proven track record of fundraising success.

  1. Couple your fundraiser with another activity.
  • At Mesa Community College’s Southern/Dobson Campus in Arizona, advisors Duane Oakes and Vickie Gallegos pair a silent auction fundraiser with their chapter’s induction ceremony. This pairing increases the chapter’s visibility, engagement, and excitement among prospective members, faculty, staff, and administrators. Also, check out this blog post about the Alpha Omicron Kappa Chapter’s coupling of an induction ceremony with a swing dance fundraiser!
  1. Consider having a small number of significant fundraisers annually.
  • Silent Auction: Mesa Community College’s Omicron Beta Chapter conducts a limited number of fundraisers each year. The silent auction is one of the chapter’s leading fundraisers, raising nearly $2,000 annually. Students sign a commitment fee form in conjunction with the chapter’s silent auction. The form serves as the student’s pledge to pay a pre-determined commitment amount to be applied to the student’s PTK Catalyst travel and registration expenses. A percentage of the commitment fee can be raised through the member’s silent auction fundraising efforts. Check out the Omicron Beta Chapter’s Silent Auction Time Table and Silent Auction Fundraiser Tips for details on how to organize a silent auction fundraiser at your chapter.
  • Bowl-A-Thon: Advisor Bonnie Coleman from Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester Campus, in Massachusetts organizes a bowl-a-thon, a one-day fundraiser where students, faculty, and staff pledge funds for her chapter. Typically, this event raises about $8,000.
  • Comedy Night: The Alpha Zeta Theta Chapter at Quinsigamond Community College raised about $15,000 at its comedy night fundraiser, which featured a local comedian and a local jazz band.
  1. Document. Document. Document.
  • Vickie Gallegos from Mesa Community College emphasizes the importance of Google spreadsheets, which allow real-time collaboration and color-coding organizational techniques. Members highlight information in red when they’ve asked a business for a donation, and the business has declined. Green is used when a business agrees to donate, and the students have the product(s) or funds in hand. Yellow indicates pending.
  1. Smaller-scale and/or unique fundraisers for smaller chapters work well when the initiatives are connected to the local community and/or campus culture.
  • Associate Regional Coordinator and advisor of the Alpha Sigma Xi Chapter at Columbia Gorge Community College in Oregon Michelle Gietl says her chapter partners with a local restaurant every year. In exchange for members working as servers, the restaurant offers 15 percent of profits earned. Additionally, the chapter places donation jars around the restaurant, so patrons can contribute directly. The chapter also partners with a local doughnut shop annually to raise funds, which have amounted to between $600 and $800 annually. Her close-knit community, she says, looks forward to these activities, especially the doughnuts — the nearest doughnut shop is about 75 miles from campus.
  • One of the Alpha Sigma Xi Chapter’s most significant fundraisers involves partnering with a local business that makes environmentally safe Christmas wreaths. The chapter earns 50 percent profit from this partnership and has raised more than $1,000 annually from this initiative.
  • A unique fundraiser organized by Gietl’s chapter is “Big Red.” “Big Red” is a stuffed red dog the chapter places in the offices of faculty and staff at its college. The only way to have “Big Red” removed from an office is to pay the chapter. This is a fun way to engage everyone at the college and earn extra funds.
  • Check out more fundraising tips here!
  1. Host a college transfer fair that will serve double duty as a fundraiser.
  • The New England Regional Alumni Association organizes two college fairs in conjunction with its fall and spring conferences. Representatives from senior colleges recruit PTK members at these events. In exchange for sponsoring the region’s conference(s), four-year schools have the opportunity to connect with PTK members, have their colleges’ logos on display, and promote transfer opportunities.
  • Funds raised from four-year college sponsors are applied directly to PTK member benefits. Omicron Psi Chapter advisor and District II Coordinator for the Texas Region Mary Linder said, “The worst [senior colleges] can tell me is no. I’m not going to lose anything by making that ask [for sponsorship]. … In the end, that money they’re giving us, even though it’s a fundraiser, is going to be turned into benefits for our members. … We can use it to bring in speakers or do great activities in the Texas Region. … So, [our members] are getting the double benefit of having financial resources to get great things and having the connection with those four-year institutions.”
  • Julie Larkin of the New England Regional Alumni Association says the New England Region uses funds raised from four-year school sponsorships to provide members with scholarships to Honors Institute and PTK Catalyst.
  • Check out these resources to learn more about setting up a college transfer fair at your next regional or chapter event: Hosting a College Transfer Fair Webinar; Transfer Fair Toolkit; Sample Texas Regional Fair Sponsorship Structure.

PTK Catalyst will be an unforgettable chapter in PTK’s history book, and we want you there. Fundraising at the chapter and regional levels will play a critical role in getting as many members as possible to Kansas City, Missouri, in April 2018. PTK President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner’s remarks from her 2017 PTK Catalyst speech echo the importance of the event:

“I do like to think of a catalyst as a little bit of magic, a spark. … We hope to spark your life and the life of your chapter. We want you to leave here with a little bit of magic that brings you this much closer to your goals. We want our Convention speakers and the information you learn in Ed Forums to spark something in you. We want you to visit the college fair and connect to those four-year universities. Those recruiters might change your life forever. But, most of all, we want you to find the magic in one another, the members that you will meet from here and across the world.”

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