Charity events are fantastic, but the job of philanthropy chair can be difficult.
Giving back to the community is a true reflection of an individual and organization’s character. Unfortunately, there will be members of your chapter who will not feel this way.
They will look at philanthropy events as another drag on their time. They will forget those that will benefit from their volunteer efforts. Don’t let the brothers in your chapter fall into this trap.
Fraternities should give back to their communities. That belief unifies all chapters of all fraternities. To get maximum participation from your chapter, you need to make it fun for the brothers who need a little coaxing to help out.
The fun factor is lost on a lot of philanthropic events. There isn’t much fun in adopt-a-highway, unless you find a huge wad of five dollar bills like one of my brothers did one fantastic afternoon. There isn’t much fun working the gate at an air show, especially when you aren’t in sight of the planes.
These examples are not given to discount the importance of these service activities. Both of these philanthropies are very worth-while. What I am trying to convey is how a chapter needs to be selective when they choose the philanthropies they are going to support.
There is a very simple way to turn service events that would normally be a drag into events that the brothers will want participate in.
The solution is to partner with a sorority. If inviting a bunch of sorority girls to join in a charity event doesn’t boost participation, nothing will.
Another way is to incorporate charity into normal fraternity events. Taking donations for a cause the chapter believes in or collecting canned goods for the local food kitchen as entry into a party is an easy way to support your community.
These two tips might help improve participation and make the job of the philanthropy chair easier, but the brotherhood will never fully commit unless they truly believe in the cause.
My chapter had a brother whose sister died in high school. His family started a foundation to help tutor underprivileged kids. Our chapter believed in the cause, and participation was never an issue. We raised hundreds of dollars night for this charity by collecting change from dorm residents.
Before soliciting donations (which got us thrown out of a few dorms) we explained why we were collecting donations and what the money would be going towards. And then we explained that we would only accept pocket change as a donation.
Nearly everyone we spoke to would donate some change that they had on in their pocket or on their dresser. When the night was done, all these small donations amounted to a significant sum of money.
That showed the chapter the power of a bunch of small contributions. Sometimes it is easier and more effective to string together a bunch of small wins as opposed to always going for the home run. This is true in all endeavors, and was validated with our philanthropy event.
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