7 fun sorority and fraternity fundraising ideas (with virtual options)
Philanthropy is at the heart of Greek life, so your fraternity or sorority will need a steady supply of fresh fundraising ideas over the years — and we’ve got them. Of course, this roundup features events that appeal to college students, but we’ve included fundraising campaign ideas that are popular with alumni and community members, too.
Here are seven sorority and fraternity fundraising ideas for your chapter, plus tips on how to host each event 100% online.
1. Speed dating
Swiping left and right and making small talk gets stale pretty quickly. On the other hand, speed dating events are bold, fun, and convenient for singles on and off campus, and let you raise money without spending a lot.
All you really need is a nicely decorated venue with plenty of seating and a top-notch playlist. (You can also partner with a local restaurant or bar to host the event. They’ll likely agree to donate a portion of food and drink sales back to your cause.)
Write up some icebreaker cards, set a time limit for each date, have people rotate, and watch the sparks fly. You aren’t limited to romantic connections, either — you can easily set up a different section for friendship-seekers. If the event is a hit, rinse and repeat it all year long.
Make it virtual: After people register online, use Zoom, Google Hangouts, or another video platform to create as many one-on-one “rooms” as you need, and then invite your virtual attendees. Raffle off a dinner-for-two package as a bonus.
2. Sports tournament
People go wild for college sports, so why not take advantage of it with an all-out athletic competition? This sorority or fraternity fundraiser is extremely flexible. Whether you challenge a rival college campus or keep the competition limited to your own student body, any team sport will do. Basketball tournaments work well — it’s called “March Madness” for a reason — but you can also try volleyball, baseball, or soccer.
There are lots of opportunities to raise funds, too. Charge a team entry fee, sell tickets to participants and audience members, and set up pay-to-play games on the side for kids. Depending on the turnout, local businesses may be willing to sponsor the event, from the venue costs and prizes to food and drink. Design and sell T-shirts and other sporty swag that highlights your chosen nonprofit.
Make it virtual: If an in-person competition isn’t an option, you could organize ticketed watch parties for major games all season long. Another option is a Super Bowl Squares-style game, where people donate online for a chance to win the big prize.
There are countless individuals, families, and community service projects in need of volunteers. If you need a simple fundraising campaign for your Greek organization, have your fraternity brothers or sorority sisters offer up their time and skills. You can bring in donations a couple ways:
- Individual members or teams create a fundraising page. They’ll pledge to work a certain number of service hours for every dollar their friends and family donate toward their chapter’s fundraising goal. For instance, each person will work one hour for every $50 donated.
- Community members donate funds to “rent” helpers for a specific project or task. You can set a minimum donation amount, like $10 or $15, to ensure you hit your fundraising goal in a reasonable time frame.
Some common community tasks include grocery delivery, street and park clean-ups, babysitting, dog walking, and snow shoveling. It may help to reach out to a community organization directly and see which service projects need extra hands. With this campaign, you make double the impact. You raise money for your nonprofit and help locals at the same time.
Make it virtual: There are plenty of online-only volunteer opportunities. Your chapter members can tutor low-income students, volunteer for a crisis hotline, read to the elderly, transcribe documents, and more.
4. Coffee and treat pop-up
Any college student with a Starbucks on or near campus has seen the mile-long line that forms between classes. Students, professors, staff, and visiting family members need their caffeine and sugar fix just like everyone else. This is precisely why a coffee stand is next on our list of sorority and fraternity fundraising ideas.
Set up shop in a high-traffic area of campus and offer an array of simple, seasonal drinks and treats to raise a lot of money in no time. Chocolate chip cookies will get the job done, but don’t be afraid to put a twist on the classic bake sale. You can charge more — and gain a reputation — for deluxe, from-scratch desserts like inception cookies, cronuts, pretzel bars, and more.
Make it virtual: Take inspiration from this citywide bake sale and offer stress-free delivery and pick-up throughout the school year. You can even craft care packages and include brochures or notes that raise awareness for the nonprofit you’re supporting.
5. No-talent show
No talent? No problem. Flip the script on the traditional talent show and recruit people to make a fool of themselves for a good cause. The idea is to have contestants perform poorly on purpose, whether they’ve truly got mad skills or not. So, this event should be filled with lame jokes, out-of-tune singing, off-beat dancing, and poorly acted skits — the worse, the better!
If you’re wondering why someone would pay to participate in or watch this horrible affair, the answer is simple: to laugh. A serious display of effort and skill will always be impressive, but silly, lighthearted, and embarrassing acts resonate with audience members, too.
This fraternity and sorority fundraising idea works best if performers invite people to watch — friends, family, co-workers, and teammates. So, consider offering discount tickets for the guests of your contestants.
Another fun way to boost your ticket sales? Charge a fee to exit the event! If the acts are “bad” enough, you could make a tidy sum from a single no-talent show.
Make it virtual: This fundraiser idea is ready-made for live streaming. Simply set up your live stream event on social media and video platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Zoom, and YouTube, and let the fun begin.
6. Pie throw
A pie throw doesn’t require a lot of money, time, effort, or space to set up, but can easily engage a lot of people in your campaign. This classic fundraising event’s success comes down to two key ingredients: It’s hard to miss and fun to watch.
Have the most popular members of your chapter volunteer to get pie’d. You can expand it to other campus groups, clubs, and sports teams, too. Well-known alumni, professors, and administrators may even be willing to take a pie to the face for the right donation amount.
Charge a flat fee, like $5 per pie, or charge different amounts for each good-natured volunteer. Charge $15 to pie the lacrosse team captain, for example.
The cherry on top is a catchy name for the event. If your volunteers are mostly your fraternity or sorority members, include your house nickname in the event title, like “Pie a Phi Psi” or “Pelt a Sig Delt.”
Make it virtual: Pie throwing knows no geographic boundaries. Simply set up a donation page, let people send in funds, and pie your willing volunteers wherever they are. Livestream or record the event and share it everywhere in seconds. You can even make it a tag-a-friend challenge, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
7. Pet therapy room
That’s right, your favorite four-legged friends can be a part of your fundraising efforts. Help your fellow students hit “paws” on their finals stress and exam anxiety by hosting a puppy and kitty room on campus. Pet therapy rooms allow students to sign up for short sessions and pet, cuddle, and play their worries away.
This trend is sweeping universities and colleges across the nation, so it’s the “purrfect” addition to our list of sorority or fraternity fundraising ideas. You can approach this event a few ways:
First, reach out to your local animal shelters and see if they’ll bring dogs and cats available for adoption to campus. If this isn’t an option, you may be able to set up an off-campus trip to the shelter where there will be plenty of dogs and cats to cuddle. Another idea is to ask faculty and community members to bring their pets to the school for some well-deserved hugs and treats.
To raise money, charge a small entry fee and sell inexpensive extras like dog and cat treats and refreshments (for the humans).
Make it virtual: You can’t exactly hug a pet online, but you can still create a feel-good fundraising campaign. Try organizing a cutest pets photo or video contest, or a virtual dog walkathon and cat nap-a-thon over Thanksgiving when everyone’s home with their family pets.
Put these sorority and fraternity fundraising ideas to work
Let’s face it: a car wash isn’t going to cut it for your big philanthropy event. Your Greek chapter needs crowd-pleasing ideas that work year-round and can be scaled up for the entire campus — or moved online at a moment’s notice. We hope these seven event ideas help you move the needle for your fraternity or sorority and bring attention to your cause!