Chapter Support Funds (CSF) are a great way for a chapter to advance its educational and housing pursuits while providing tax benefits to donors.
Below is an outline describing the steps we suggest you pursue if you are interested in creating a CSF.
1. Identify local alumni support
It is crucial that a volunteer alumnus, or several alumni, closely connected to the chapter serve as the primary sponsor(s) and point of contact for the CSF. These alumni volunteers help ensure the money raised is used in the best interest of the chapter.
These volunteers do not need to serve as the fundraising point of contact, rather they are responsible for maintaining contact with the Foundation about administering the CSF (requesting grants, scholarships, etc.).
2. Determine the chapter’s funding needs
The Foundation administers two types of CSFs. Type A funds are permanently endowed and provide funding for scholarships or leadership training. Type B funds are restricted for the educational portions of a chapter house and can be used for construction, renovation and on-going operations.
At this point, we recommend conversations between alumni, undergraduates, parents and other stakeholders to determine which fund best serves the chapter’s needs.
3. Contact the Foundation staff and execute fund agreement
This is the time to pursue conversations around volunteers, fundraising tactics, and technical details related to generating a new CSF agreement. Find the resources you need here.
4. Identify lead donors
This is an area the Foundation staff can help with. We have research tools you can leverage to identify alumni you may not be aware of. In general, alumni know your chapter brothers better than our systems, but we’re here to help.
Lead donation ranges depend on the goal for the CSF. While the minimum to launch a fund is $20,000, the majority of CSF efforts aim for six figures.
This is where you should lean on alumni from a variety of generations. Who can pledge $2,500, $5,000 or even $10,000? 3-4 of those donations and you’re ready to move on to the next step.
5. Broader fundraising effort
The Foundation staff can assist you in creating a plan to reach other alumni about this opportunity and point you in the direction of one of our campaign partners.
They can offer you space on our website and giving page, and we also recently began to leverage our annual day of giving to build awareness about our CSFs. This is a great way to ride the day of giving wave and raise money for your fund. Direct mail and phone campaigns are always a good approach as well, and the Foundation staff can provide guidance on putting something like this in motion.
Challenge gifts from lead donors are another great idea to consider. We’ve seen tremendous results when an alumnus offers to match 1:1 up to a certain figure.
Once you secure gifts for the CSF and are able to begin leveraging the fund for grants and scholarships, you must communicate the impact back to donors. This is the step most often skipped in the fundraising cycle, resulting in donor attrition.
A simple thank you letter from a student showing the donor how his support made a difference is a great step. Drafting a story about the impact of a scholarship on recruitment efforts and highlighting it in an alumni communication is another way to steward donors. This is the most critical step after receiving a gift, and must be done well before returning to ask for the next gift.
For more information on Chapter Support Funds, please visit our FAQ page or contact a member of the Foundation Staff. Thank you for helping make Lambda Chi Alpha a better place for all our chapters and members.