A recent article posted on the Forbes Magazine website entitled “College Frats: Should Animal House Be Tax-Exempt?” begins,
“The Animal House image some fraternities have—and some others may want—should tell you that college fraternities—or sororities for that matter—are rarely known for their tax compliance. In fact, you’ve probably never considered taxes and these bastions of educational socializing in the same breath. But even these organizations need to know something about taxes.”
When Sigma Chis Jim Dora and Bernie Sergesketter returned to the Purdue University campus for Homecoming in 2003, they were shocked by the condition of the chapter house. Delta Delta Chapter has a proud and distinguished heritage, but the house that Sigma Chi George Ade had built for the chapter in 1912 had begun to deteriorate to a condition that realistically was no longer safe for its undergraduate members.
It’s a well known proverb that money can’t buy happiness, but according to a recent study by scientists at the University of British Columbia, giving money away may be able to do so. They found a correlation between a person’s happiness and the amount of money that they give to others. Psychologist Elizabeth Dunn stated “Regardless of how much income each person made, those who spent money on others reported greater happiness, while those who spent more on themselves did not.”
The Sigma Chi experience is much more than the chapter house. But the chapter house is an essential component of the experience since it provides the stage where friendships are grown and the seeds of high minded values are sown. As with friendships and values, the chapter house requires care and renewal, all of which costs money...sometimes BIG money.
This information is to assist those who are considering undertaking a capital campaign. You are encouraged to seek professional assistance when appropriate. You may need an architect, engineer, attorney, accountant or other professional consultants to assist in formulating and executing your
campaign. While these professionals don’t work for free, they usually save your fund raising team considerable money, time and headaches.
If you intend to fund raise, you must also “friend raise” - before, during, and after a capital campaign! A comprehensive program is the means to achieve this. An important part of that program is successful alumni relations. This can be summarized as the Five I of Successful Alumni Relations:
Identified. The first step is knowing who your alumni are. Besides contact information, strive for career information and details about community and fraternity involvement. Records management becomes the backbone of your fund raising program.
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.
One of the primary charges of the Grand Trustees is to improve chapter house conditions for livability and to address life/safety improvements like fire sprinkler systems. Sigma Chi has an outstanding money source available known as Constantine Capital, Inc.(CCI) that can help make those goals a reality.
What follows is a Q&A featuring information from the CCI web page together with comments from CCI’s Board President Jimmy Walker to help understand what CCI might do for your house corporation: