Five Rs of Fundraising

Fundraising should be a fundamental goal of every house corporation and alumni chapter. If you have a chapter house, it is likely in need of fire and safety upgrades or renovation which often cost a lot of money. If you don’t have a chapter house, money can be raised for scholarships to assist in the recruitment. While there are professional companies that engage in this type of work that do well with multi-million dollar campaigns, most fundraisers are smaller dollar values and executed by volunteers.
 
Whether large or small, every successful fundraising effort requires planning and careful execution, also known as the Five Rs:
 
Research. This forms the basis of the entire campaign. Developing a reliable contact alumni database is essential to success so it must be done first. It is your donor pool. The bigger the pool, the greater potential for donations. Fraternity headquarters can provide you much of the information as a starting point which must be updated. The ultimate goal should be to garner email addresses for as many alums as possible to eliminate cumbersome and costly mailings.
 
Recruiting. This phase is going on constantly, but primarily during the same time frame as research. Volunteers, from leadership level to initiation class chairman, are all necessary for a successful campaign. The amount of work involved and the number of people through the years that must be contacted demands it. 
 
Romance. Commonly called cultivation, this is perhaps the most important part of the process. All contact is a form of cultivation. Every publication, phone call, event and publicity item serves to inform and interest your alumni. A concerted effort needs to be made prior to soliciting funds. The goal is to get prospects emotionally involved with the cause.
 
Request. This is the part when the prospect is actually asked to invest. The word “invest” is much more meaningful than “give”. In a real sense, investing in a chapter house renovation provides a place for the chapter to thrive for years to come. So invest is more about the viability of the chapter than the real estate. Requests are best done by someone that knows the prospect so having generational volunteers is the best strategy.
 
Recognition. Early, frequent and creative ways to thank your volunteers and donors will insure that they stay involved and invested. It also sets a pattern which other prospects will notice.
 
Every fundraiser needs to have a newsletter that goes out 2-4 times a year. Include descriptions of the work accomplished and pictures of the volunteers that helped, invitations to Homecoming, stories of generational reunions and names of those that attended. Brothers love to see their names in print. This strategy will pay off big time. Every contact with an alum involves one or more of the Five Rs. Maximizing the effectiveness of those contacts is what will get you to your goal.
 
From Fraternity Management Group www.fmgtucson.com IHSV