Fraternity Fundraising: Linking Current Members with Alumni

Many students join fraternities to make connections that last a lifetime. For fraternity leaders, these bonds influence an important aspect of your fundraising: alumni giving.  

Your alumni already have fond memories of their college years with your chapter, but it’s your responsibility to keep them involved after graduation. When alumni maintain a personal connection with current members and feel invested in their long-term success, they’re more likely to donate. Plus, prioritizing relationship-building over time incentivizes alumni to pay forward the mentorship and support they received when they were active members.     

There are several ways to facilitate relationship-building for alumni-giving purposes. These include: 

  1. Segment your communications
  2. Create a mentorship program
  3. Host a reunion event
  4. Arrange a networking event or career fair

Whether you have a set process for connecting current members to alumni or need help getting started, these tips will ensure your fraternity remains strong and well-funded for years to come.

1. Segment your communications

While mass-messaging campaigns may be effective at reaching large numbers of alumni, donors prefer a more personalized approach. Segmenting your alumni outreach allows you to tailor your messaging and reach as many brothers as possible.

Segmentation is when you use your donor/alumni database to group people by shared characteristics. This step guarantees alumni get customized messages they can relate to. 

Here are some ways to define your donor segments:

Use your segmented marketing messages to connect current members with alumni. An easy way to accomplish this is to address communications from certain current members—such as your chapter’s leadership team—to boost name recognition. 

You could also send messages to certain segments from a current member in the same group, such as their field of study. This step familiarizes your alumni with active brothers and humanizes your fraternity for future fundraising efforts. 

If you don’t already have your alumni’s information, send out a survey so you can group them accordingly. According to Double the Donation’s guide to phone number appending, you can also use these surveys to append their contact. Appending is a necessary facet of data hygiene that involves checking that contact information is up-to-date so you can stay in touch.

2. Create a mentorship program

One of your fraternity’s greatest assets is your network of alumni and active brothers. Introduce alumni from all careers and backgrounds to current members through a mentorship program.  

When done effectively, this method is mutually beneficial for you, your alumni, and your current members. It gives your current members access to a mentor who can shape their personal and professional growth. And, your alumni can use these sessions as chances to recruit up-and-coming brothers for jobs and gain hours towards volunteer grants for your chapter. 

Be sure to market this program as a customizable and enriching experience for both the mentor and mentee. Match active members and alumni using a survey about their motivations for joining the program and their availability. 

Allow your matched pairs to optimize the engagement to fit their needs. For example, one pair might only want to have an hour-long session every two weeks in person, whereas another might need two hour-long sessions per week over video chat. Don’t forget to check in with mentees and mentors throughout the engagement to address any issues and reassign partners if necessary.  

3. Host a reunion event

The college reunion and homecoming seasons are important opportunities to introduce current members and alumni in person. Many of your brothers want to reconnect with each other, so get everyone under one roof by hosting a reunion party. 

Whether you host a football tailgate, casual cookout, happy hour, or formal dinner, ensure you’re allowing current members and alumni to mingle. You might assign table numbers for a sit-down event to facilitate conversations between your brothers or opt for a “speed dating” approach of introducing every attendee to each other. 

Don’t forget to highlight your fraternity’s current philanthropy initiatives at these events. According to Getting Attention’s guide to nonprofit marketing ideas, you can subtly market your philanthropy so you don’t turn the reunion into a dedicated fundraising event. For example, you could ask current members to wear your campaign’s branded merchandise to the event to draw attention to your philanthropy efforts. 

As long as you keep the event fun and social, your alumni will build relationships with current members while learning more about your fundraising campaigns.

4. Arrange a networking event or career fair

Put a more professional spin on your alumni outreach by hosting a networking event for your brothers. While general career fairs have hundreds of participants and few chances for an in-depth conversation with a recruiter, this exclusive experience is more intimate. A networking event is also useful for pre-professional fraternities where all current members can link with experts in their field of interest.  

New technology has made hosting these events accessible and straightforward. You can eliminate many overhead costs and expand the number of participants by hosting a virtual networking event through a video conferencing platform. 

In addition to hosting one-on-one conversations between alumni and current members, leverage technology to spread awareness for your philanthropy efforts. A great way to start is to host a professional panel discussion about your cause and have active members moderate it. Invite alumni with relevant professional experience to sit on the panel and provide their expertise. Then, encourage alumni in the audience to lend their support by promoting your campaign and sharing your online donation page. 

Wrapping Up

Your alumni outreach campaign shouldn’t have a concrete end point. It should always be one of your fraternity’s priorities—even when you aren’t actively hosting a fundraising event. 

Consistently monitor certain metrics with your fraternity management software, such as acquired donors and event attendance, so you can identify improvement opportunities for future programs. 

Building these connections sets your fraternity up for short and long-term success, as your fundraising campaigns will flourish. And, future generations of alumni will be inspired to pay forward their support.  

AlumniFinder Team