When sorority sisters get together to raise money for a good cause, the possibilities are endless. Whether you need one big idea for your annual philanthropy event or need a little inspiration for the school year, you’ve come to the right place.
These campaign ideas are unique and accessible for Greek organizations of any size — you won’t find any car wash campaigns here. Dive into our eight sorority fundraising ideas below.
1. Virtual bike-a-thon
Many college students already have bikes to get around campus quickly. That makes a bike-a-thon a convenient fundraising event for your fellow students, as well as the greater community. Until live streaming came around, the only downside to hosting a marathon event was that it was limited to your local supporters. Now, you can host a virtual bike-a-thon that spans the whole globe.
Like a typical bike-a-thon, you’ll set a distance and have your cruisers and racers pay an event registration fee to join in. One of your artistic sorority members can create custom T-shirts to sell ahead of time for the big day. Then your competitors set off wherever they are and share their times on your fundraising page. (This part works off the honor system.)
You can even encourage participants who live in the same area to bike together. That way, your supporters get a mini bonding experience out of your event, too. Have some first-, second-, and third-place medals ready to mail to your biking champions.
2. Treat yourself
Everybody can get on board with a pampering session, especially one that helps your sorority make a difference. Put together a grand schedule of manicures, pedicures, massages, and more at local businesses in your city. If you get enough people on board, you might be able to lock down a solid group discount, increasing your profit.
Sell tickets to this lavish event, or have attendees donate to your cause instead. For example, if a manicure is $20, ask your supporters to donate $35 or $40. The difference between the salon’s price and the total donation is what you’ll ultimately raise.
If there’s a lot of interest in this fundraising event, you can run it one or two weekends each month. A couple of weeks in advance, make sure to notify each salon when your group will arrive. A mani-pedi day is a fun way to help students get to know each other. A follow-up brunch or dinner could also be a winner.
3. Arts festival
This next sorority fundraising idea is inspired by Britton Struthers, one of our Givebutter Changemakers. She’s part of the team that runs On The Rocks, the largest student-run arts festival in the UK. The multi-day event features fashion shows, orchestral performances, drama, filmmaking, visual arts, and more.
So, how can you take inspiration from this event? It may sound intimidating, but it’s completely possible to host your own student-run arts festival on campus. You’ll need to work with the school to secure a large space on campus, like the football stadium or soccer fields.
Then, reach out to student art groups, local bands, art galleries, and more to round up artists and entertainment. You can get tables, booths, chairs, and other event supplies donated from stores. Festivals take serious planning and preparation to pull off, but they also raise a lot of money.
4. Golf tournament
FORE! There are tons of ways to get creative with the classic golf tournament fundraiser. Of course, you’ll need to reserve a golf course for the day or weekend. See if your Greek life community has any relationships with the managers or owners of courses in the area. School alumni are also a good resource.
Charge a straightforward tournament entry fee and a separate spectator fee. Or, make it a little more interesting. Sell tickets to foursomes, which is a team of people who join up and golf together. You can also have contestants “rent” a caddie for a set donation amount.
Don’t forget to give your spectators and guests something to do! Set up side activities, like a cute mini-golf area and face painting for the kids, and a raffle or silent auction the adults can keep an eye on. Check out this high school golf tournament that raised over $40,000 with Givebutter.
5. Jail and bail
Get ready to cringe! With a jail and bail sorority fundraiser, you have everyone in your chapter share an embarrassing picture or video of themselves on social media. We’re talking bad angles, terrible outfits, and general weirdness. You can set a theme like “Turn Back the Clock” and request childhood pictures, or ask people to take some new mortifying snapshots and videos.
Once the submissions are in, you’ll set bail for each picture. For instance, once a sister raises $100 from her peers, she can delete the picture of her in seventh grade, when she thought green hair was cool.
Celebrities like Stephen Colbert and Sarah Silverman did something similar with their #Puberme fundraising campaign to support Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. For every embarrassing picture they posted, Colbert donated to the cause.
6. Alumni event
Say “welcome back” and “please donate” at the same time with a nice alumni night. This sorority fundraising idea works well because it builds off already established social networks and can be adapted for any time of year. You can even make it a joint sorority and fraternity fundraiser to expand the number of potential donors.
So, roll out the red carpet. You can try a cocktail happy hour, a whiskey or wine tasting, or an upscale networking event. If you host the event at a local restaurant or bar and bring a large group, they’ll likely offer a discounted menu.
They may also be willing to donate a portion of the food sales back to your cause, such as 15% of every purchase. Another way to go about this event is to confirm a set food and drink menu with the restaurant, then sell flat-fee tickets.
Activities are a must to entertain your guests. Hire a DJ, run a throwback trivia contest, or set out board games for your nostalgic attendees. You’ll meet or beat your fundraising goal in no time!
7. Murder mystery party
A sudden scream, scattered clues, and a mission to find the truth — this is all your guests will have for this mysterious fundraising event idea. Murder mystery games are making a comeback among young adults. And, good news for your sorority, they’re easy to pull off, don’t require a lot of resources, and are great for groups.
All you need is a room, print-out instructions, and some common household materials and decorations. Some games support as many as 24 players at a time, perfect for an entire sports team or a whole class of students. To raise funds, charge a team registration fee or sell individual tickets, and pair people up on site.
Try this out any time of year or roll it out just in time for Halloween. No matter what, it’s a creative way to raise funds and prove who’s really got what it takes to be a detective. Check out this list of 12 free murder mystery games for inspiration.
8. Bake sale
We aren’t the first people to suggest a college bake sale, it’s true. But we’ve got some new ways to mix it up and have students stopping by on the regular:
- Taste the rainbow: Create a collection of Instagram-ready treats for every color of the rainbow, like red velvet cupcakes, lemon bars, green apple cookies, and blueberry pie slices. A little presentation goes a long way.
- Book- or movie-inspired pop-up: Sell baked goods and candy with a taste of nostalgia to them. For example, you can draw from well-known fictional universes like Harry Potter and sell chocolate frogs and non-alcoholic butterbeer.
- World tour: Shine the spotlight on desserts and snacks from around the world. Serve mochi ice cream, flan, cannoli, and more. For “brownie” points, share some fun facts about each dessert before the upcoming event.
Bring these sorority fundraising ideas to life
Philanthropy and service is a fundamental part of sorority life. So, choose a free fundraising platform like Givebutter, built specifically to help Greek organizations create powerful campaigns year after year.
It’s a snap to create your fundraising pages, collect donations and payments, and share exciting updates, all from your favorite mobile device or computer. Even better, Givebutter doesn’t eat away at your earnings with unnecessary fees like other fundraising sites. See for yourself — it’s free to sign up.
Looking for more campaigns, events, and challenges to accelerate your fundraising efforts? Check out these other sorority fundraising ideas:
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.