Philanthropy Planning Fundamentals

The Starting Point

Your first step is the creation of a committee composed of diverse group of chapter members. An effective committee will be at the core of good philanthropic programming. It is important that you surround yourself with men who have a variety of talents. Do not stand up at a chapter meeting and announce, “I am forming a philanthropy committee and if you are interest sign up or talk to me.” Creating a quality committee takes some work on your part.

Things to keep in mind when selecting your members are

  • Who is interested in the purpose of this committee?
  • Who has the knowledge and skills, access to information and resources needed by the committee?
  • Who will be compatible and work well together?

As you approach the men you would like to have on the committee, tell him why his talents are needed on this committee. Make him feel important (because his service will be important to the chapter) and give him a sense of obligation to play an active role in the Philanthropy committee. Work together with your chapter’s Vice President in creating this committee. You might also want to consider adding chapter advisors or BOG members.

In Search of an Idea

With all of your talent assembled you now need to give them quality work to accomplish. The committee’s first step will be to have a brainstorming session. To prepare for this meeting you will need to have access to a large marker board, chalkboard or a tablet of large sheets of paper.

Stage 1 - Generating the ideas

With a marker, write Philanthropy at the top of the board and have the group begin throwing out ideas for events at your chapter. Think big and use your imagination. Write every idea mentioned and number each one as you go. Keep the ideas going but keep it positive and relevant. Make sure you list things that interest the chapter, campus and/or community. Do this until the ideas for philanthropy events are exhausted. (To get you started or for additional ideas, reference the list of activities in this manual.) Remember in this stage there are no bad ideas. Do not discuss any of the ideas; there will be a time for that later.

Stage 2 – Focusing In

At this point you should have a long list of ideas for the committee to evaluate and eliminate. Have the committee members call out ideas they feel wouldn’t work and are bad ideas. If a good percentage of the committee wants to keep the goal, keep it. With the unwanted ideas gone, focus on combining similar ideas and continuing to narrow the possibilities.

Stage 3 – Choosing Priorities

As a committee, decide on the ideas the chapter will focus on during the year. There are several factors that need to be considered when choosing the event/s. Don’t let these questions discourage you from your ideas but let them help you to gain a greater understanding of what will be required of you and the chapter.

Factors to Consider When Planning an Event

  • Why do we want to organize or sponsor this event?
  • What or who will benefit from this event when completed?
  • Will the campus and community support the event?
  • Who do you wish to serve/reach with this event?
  • Why should alumni, businesses, the general public support this event?
  • What is in it for the donor?
  • Will it be for the HITW or a different charity?
  • Does the leadership exist to get the work done?
  • Will the chapter support the event? Is this something they will be excited about doing?
  • Does the chapter have sufficient time/energy and manpower to support the event?
  • Is the timing right? (Consider midterms, finals, holidays, amount of planning time)
  • Weigh the competition. Is someone else already holding a similar event?
  • Should the event be co-sponsored? With whom?
  • What are the financial costs? Are there set-up costs involved?
  • Does it violate University or Phi Kappa Tau Risk Management policies?
  • Are there tax deductibility issues or other legal issues to consider?

It is very important you consider all the factors that will contribute to or limit your success.

Through this process the committee should have come up with at least one viable philanthropy idea. Remember it is better to have one really good event than a lot of poor events.

Stage 4 – Setting Up the Plan

The committee’s next step is important in executing the plan. Once the initial questions are answered above, it is time to establish a checklist of things to be done. Consider all the aspects needed to plan a successful event and set up sub-committees and a list of responsibilities that needed to be completed. This list of sub-committees will help in organizing chapter members when time to carry out the tasks. Additionally, establish a timeline and deadlines for when tasks needed to be completed. A designated list of who should report to who would be useful.

Making It a Reality

Once an event is agreed upon, the chapter must be sold on it. Ideally a very enthusiastic member who is already bought-in to the event can give the initial introduction to the whole chapter. The chapter needs to understand the “big picture” of Phi Kappa Tau’s philanthropic efforts and how they positively impact the campus and community. Help them to understand the public relation implications.

Following the introduction and presuming the chapter concurs that the idea is worth pursuing, the entire chapter should be involved in implementing the plan for the event. Philanthropy is not solely your responsibility nor is it that of the committee. Delegation will be crucial to the success of the event. Tasks and responsibilities should be divided and should involve as many members as possible.

Assign all participants to one of the sub-committees and appoint a delegate to lead and be responsible for ensuring the work gets done. Provide each sub-committee with their list of tasks, reporting authority, the timeline, and deadlines.

Upon Completion—Recognizing Achievement

Be sure the men doing the work are appreciated and thanked for their contributions.

Inexpensive ideas for recognizing Brothers include:

  • Say thanks—in person and publicly.
  • Give out $100,000 Grand Candy Bars as “payment for working hard.”
  • Put a large greeting card, phony parking ticket, or gift on an honoree’s car with a personal message from you or the committee.
  • While personalized gifts are appreciated, they don’t have to break the bank. Go overboard affordably with the honoree’s favorites such as a giant bowl of miniature candy bars.
  • Present a commemorative poster or scrapbook filled with photos and other memorabilia.
  • Present awards for Best Participant, Must Humble, Most Likely to Get the Job Done, Above and Beyond Award, Brother of the Week, etc.
  • Present fun awards (take care that no one in the chapter may take offense at receiving such an award) such as Best Schmoozer, Biggest Worry Wart, Drama King Award, etc.

The best tip about recognition is to be creative!

In addition to recognizing individual accomplishments, be sure to publicize the chapter’s success through press releases and public announcements. Announce how much money was raised, who or what organization benefited from the event, how many hours were involved in conducting the philanthropy, etc. Spectacular achievement is as newsworthy as anything else, but it is up to you to bring it to the media, university or community’s attention.

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