Alumni Fundraising Campaigns

Fundraising Basics

As a general rule, undergraduates should not solicit contributions from alumni. Most officers remain in office for 6 to 12 months. The officers have usually changed before the fundraising program has had a chance to become fully operational. An alumnus is normally far more apt to contribute if he is solicited by other alumni. Therefore, any plans to institute a fundraising program should be carefully coordinated with the Graduate Council, Board of Governors, and/or Huse Corporation. An alumnus must be given sufficient reason to donate. Phi Kappa Tau is just one of many organizations that might be of particular interest to an alumnus, so a plan must be devised utilizing the powerful effect the Fraternity has had on him.

Some factors that will affect an alumnus’ willingness to give

Personal experience.
If the alumnus had a very positive, meaningful experience during his undergraduate and previous alumni years in the Fraternity, he will be much more receptive to solicitations.
Method of contact.
Often times, the manner in which you communicate with alumni has a direct bearing on the response you receive. Do not “over-solicit” and alumnus. Not only will it turn him off to Phi Tau, but it might keep him from coming to alumni events for years to come.
Identity of contact.
Alumni are much more likely to respond to someone they know, recognize, and have a relationship with than to a total stranger. This is the primary reason fundraising campaigns should be organized using volunteer alumni manpower.

Ideas for Successful Fundraising

Begin with the undergraduate brothers.
By implementing a donor program with graduating seniors, you will instill the habit of giving to Phi Tau at an early stage, regardless of the amount. In time, these donations can grow and grow.
Ask for specific annual dues through a special mailing.
Include a list of those who have already donated this year.
Publish an alumni directory.
Compile and mail an alphabetical listing of all chapter alumni. A solicitation letter could accompany this.
Publish a service directory of local alumni.
Contact all local Phi Taus and ask to advertise their business in a directory that would be sent free to all Phi Taus in the area. There would be a charge for the ads.
Be direct.
Often this is more effective when run through alumni. Personal calls or visits from someone familiar to the prospective donor often yield much better results than a letter or call from a stranger.
Use the IC5 model.
Simply put, IC5 means running a fundraising campaign in which no one person is responsible for soliciting donations from more than 5 other people. Many nonprofit organizations that excel in organizing successful fundraising campaigns utilize this simple plan. It forces the campaign leadership to recruit sufficient manpower and keeps fundraising volunteers from getting burnt out.
Utilize the Phi Kappa Tau Foundation’s Chapter Educational Grant Fund.
Many chapters have experienced success in fundraising by using their CEG fund with the Phi Kappa Tau Foundation. This allows alumni to make a tax-deductible contribution to Phi Kappa Tau, with the money being earmarked for that specific chapter’s educational and leadership development needs.

Final Thoughts

Once you have decided on a plan, stick with it. Nothing can set a fundraising campaign back more than failure to follow through on promises. The vast majority of chapters and house corporations are not established in such a manner as to allow for a tax deduction for gifts from their alumni. According to Internal Revenue Service regulations, any solicitation which does not meet the criteria for tax gifts are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal tax purposes. Also, it is a good idea to have the funds that are donated placed in an account that is managed by alumni volunteers, unless otherwise specified. For further information and options with fundraising campaigns, please contact the Phi Kappa Tau Foundation at the Executive Offices.

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