The Ultimate Guide for Philanthropy Chairs or Fundraiser Chairs in a Fraternity or Sorority | Track It Forward

The Ultimate Guide for Philanthropy Chairs or Fundraiser Chairs in a Fraternity or Sorority

Written by Kasey Murphy

An organization like a fraternity or sorority is a well-oiled machine that has different people perform different roles to make the organization successful. One of these roles is the philanthropy chair or the person in charge of fundraising for a specific philanthropy mission that the fraternity or sorority is connected to. 

The main things this chair is required to do are: plan fundraising events, plan volunteer or service opportunities for the philanthropy and sometimes for the fraternity or sorority as a whole, track amounts raised, and track volunteer hours from members in the fraternity or sorority. 

Being a philanthropy chair in a Greek organization like a sorority or fraternity requires creativity, organization, and motivation. The most important thing to keep in mind when you are organizing philanthropy activities is that you are helping raise money and awareness for a great cause! 

Examples of different philanthropies 

Each sorority or fraternity is assigned philanthropy to focus its fundraising efforts towards. The philanthropy can either be a specific organization that promotes awareness and donates to those affected or an umbrella organization that donates to specific organizations. Examples of philanthropy that a sorority or fraternity supports are: 

  • Breast Cancer Education and Awareness 
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute
  • American Red Cross
  • The National Bone Marrow Registry
  • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Philanthropy Chair Duties

Some sororities and fraternities separate their philanthropy chair and their service chair, some do not. The main difference between the two of these departments is that philanthropy events specifically raise money or awareness for the set philanthropy organization that the sorority or fraternity is connected to. 

Service events are volunteer events that are planned for the members of the sorority or fraternity to do in order to gain volunteer hours and help the community, rather than the philanthropy. Oftentimes, a philanthropy chair is responsible for both philanthropy and volunteer service activities because sorority and fraternity members volunteer when they are helping run philanthropy events as well as when they do service volunteering. The following are the more specific duties of a philanthropy chair.

  • Work with the philanthropy organization to educate the chapter. 
    Often a missed step - this is a super important part of being an engaging and motivating philanthropy chair. Having a few sessions where you teach and encourage members to feel passionate about the philanthropy mission is a great way to boost morale when it comes to philanthropy events. It is your responsibility to educate the other members in the sorority or fraternity about the philanthropy organization you are involved with. 

We recommend having a learning session or an interactive demonstration on the causes the philanthropy supports and how the money you raise will help. 

Infographic on 4 tips for being an organized philanthropy chair. 1. Delegate and document: Know how to delegate responsibilities to other members, but also create a documentation system to hold everyone accountable and keep tasks organized. 2. Consistency : Organize regular weekly/ biweekly meetings to ensure consistency and no last-minute planning. Plan for the events in advance and do little things throughout the year to help. 3. Money Responsibility: As you are handling other people's money, you must have secure documentation and transfer system. Know how much money you have saved up, where it is saved, and how you can give it to the philanthropy. 4. Track Time: Sorority and fraternity members give up a lot of time to help philanthropy events. This time could be considered a volunteer/ service hour - use a simple system to keep track of these hours!

  • Plan philanthropic events.
    This is probably the most recognized responsibility of a philanthropy chair and maybe the reason why you committed to this role! This is an extremely important duty of the philanthropy chair because it is the main source of income for the philanthropy organization and the main source of volunteer and donation “hours” for the members of the sorority or fraternity. Some organizations require the members of the sorority or fraternity to have a certain amount of philanthropy, volunteer, service, and donation hours to participate in future events. Here are the steps to planning a philanthropy or fundraising event: 
  1. Brainstorm creative ideas for the event - you will want to plan an event that is fun for your members to participate in, fun for people outside of your organization to attend (for a ticket price that goes towards the philanthropy), and has activities within the event that will generate opportunities for a money donation. 
  2. Organize volunteers to work these events - you will need to organize how each member of the sorority or fraternity can be involved and contribute to this event. One way is by working and engaging at the actual event, and these could be considered volunteer hours! Come up with a schedule for people working at the event, different activities that they can sign up for, and specifics like a dress code. 
  3. Organize donations and a process for asking for donations - another way members of the organization can be involved is by getting donations in advance or helping collect donations that will accumulate at the event. 
  4. Plan everything before the day of to make sure it runs smoothly - you will have to be there the day of the event working in full swing to help make sure everything is running smoothly. This will require a good amount of preparation and execution on the day of the event. 
  5. Safely keep track of money and give it to philanthropy - this seems self-explanatory but make sure you have a plan in place for keeping the money safe, totaling it up, recording it, and giving it to the correct person in the most legitimate way possible. Things to keep in mind while doing this are:

Running totals for the organization - sometimes it is nice to have a friendly competition with other years to see if you can raise more money. Also sometimes the sorority or fraternity at a national level may ask for your totals to make sure you are generating a generous amount for the philanthropy. So be sure you have a diligent tracking system in place. 

Keep track of volunteer hours - as mentioned above, a large motivation to get members involved is to offer them volunteer opportunities that translate into hours they need to accumulate in order to go to events like formals or socials and to continue on in the organization. Find a specified way to keep track of what members do and what type of service this could fall under in your organization for them to get credit. 

  • Organize engagement activities volunteering with the community (or delegate this to someone else)
    This is the volunteer/service aspect of the philanthropy role. Some sororities or fraternities may have a specific service chair for this role, but if not then this is another task for the philanthropy role. Sororities and fraternities need to make themselves active in providing for the philanthropy and in volunteering locally.

    Organize events that members of the organization can go to volunteer, or give them contacts of organizations that they can volunteer with on their own time. Ensure them that these volunteer hours will count towards their total requirement. Come up with a system for members to log and track these hours. Tallying hours towards a total can get confusing, make sure you have a great way to keep track of these. Consider volunteer tracking software. 

  • Work with other chairs to coordinate events and requirement goals.
    If there are other members whose responsibility is to help you, make sure you give everyone clear roles and organize a communication system like meeting every week to be well acquainted with all aspects of the role. 

Philanthropy Fundraising Event Ideas 

Track It Forward's 3 Tips to keep in mind when organizing a philanthropy event. The main goals of a philanthropy fundraising event are to raise money for the specific philanthropy and to raise awareness for the cause. As you plan the event, there are multiple things you can do to help ensure these goals are met! 1. Promote your event before the day of the event. If you are planning an event that is going to have tickets, or a way to make money based on attendance this is really important! Promote your event via social media or going to different gatherings to talk about the philanthropy. 2. Organize a budget and a list of non-monetary donations. As you are planning the event, you will see that you need to organize how much money will go into the event and how to make the event profitable. Be sure to have a budget and to have a list of different ways people can help out besides donating money. This could be with decorations at the event or donating goods for an auction. 3. Find an engaging way to accept donations. You will want to find ways to raise money on the day of the event. This brings in more money than just ticket sales or pre-donations. You could do an activity like a raffle ticket prize with a non-monetary donation or games that cost a few dollars to play!

Planning a philanthropy event comes with a lot of responsibility and challenges. But there is no feeling like putting effort into an event for charity and seeing how much money you and your organization raised to help others! 

When planning an event, be sure to consider the following: who your audience is, how will you raise money at the event, how you will pay for the event, and a goal for the event. Knowing these crucial pieces of information will help you plan a successful event. 

Here are some ideas for events: 

  1. A dinner - plan a casual spaghetti dinner or even a formal 4-course meal. In a college/ university setting it is so easy to get large groups of people from different organizations together for food! You can have members of the sorority or fraternity serving, cleaning and welcoming guests in. 
  2. A carnival/ fair- this could appeal to families in the area. Organize a day full of games, face painting, and carnival food for everyone to stop in and enjoy. You can have other members of the sorority helping coordinate the games and activities on the day. 
  3. A local concert - there is so much local talent, especially in college and universities! Find a local talent that would be willing to play for free/ low price and set up a concert! Sell tickets and food/ chairs at the event for extra money. 
  4. A competition - any sort of competition is bound to bring out a fun group of people! Set up a tournament or a competition where many people are involved and are invited to come to watch! 

Check out over 60 more creative ideas here

Pro-Tip: At any of these events gather together goods from local businesses. See if you can get some donations for an auction/ raffle prize. This will encourage people to buy tickets and is an extra way to gain money! You can also get a lot of non-monetary donations from asking people that you know. Have the members of your sorority or fraternity ask different people that they know for any suggested donation!

How Track It Forward Can Help Philanthropy Chairs 

Track It Forward is a software designed to help organizations keep track of their members and the work that they do. It is great for sororities and fraternities to track their member’s volunteer hours, service hours, and philanthropy hours. 

If your sorority or fraternity requires a certain amount of hours per semester or per person, you and the members can keep track of their progress with the milestone features. You can also keep track of money donated or raised per person by assigning a dollar amount to a “philanthropy hour”. Track It Forward allows philanthropy and service chairs to see the amount of work each individual does. Members can log their hours themselves and then it can be added to an approval queue or automatically logged. 

Track It Forward has many features that can help a philanthropy chair of a fraternity or sorority stay organized, incentivize philanthropy and volunteer motivation, and keep all of their information together. 

FAQ:

What does a philanthropy chair do? 

A philanthropy chair helps raise money and awareness for a sorority or fraternity’s specific philanthropic organization. They usually raise money through large events that they plan. 

How do I become a philanthropy chair? 

In a sorority or fraternity, you can become a philanthropy chair when the organization undergoes elections for the next year’s council. Each sorority and fraternity is different when it comes to assigning these roles.

What is a recruitment chair?

A recruitment chair is quite different from a philanthropy chair, in the sense that they are trying to gain new members into the sorority or fraternity. While doing this, it may be a great idea to mention the philanthropy because you want to have people in the organization that care about this cause!