Dear Chapter Development: Building a Budget out of Nothing

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Dear Chapter Development,
My Chapter has little-to-no budget, so what should we do?

A Chapter’s budget can determine a lot about its programming for the year. When the budget is low, Chapter leaders can feel limited in their efforts. There is one key way to fix that: fundraise.

Start by looking for fundraising ideas in the FUNdraising Playbook. The ideas listed in it — and it’s more than 40 pages, by the way — were successful fundraisers led by other Chapters. It even lists how much money was raised and how much time the fundraiser took, so you can find something that fits your Chapter’s capabilities. Here are my top three selections you should consider:

  • Greek Media Training (page 3)
  • Headshot Fundraiser (page 14)
  • Media Contact List Fundraiser (page 27)

The FUNdraising Bowl (which is happening now) takes place each year from February–May. Wondering what the FUNdrasing Bowl is? It’s a fun competition where all Chapters can submit their best fundraisers from the current school year. Three finalists are selected between February–April, and an overall champion gets chosen in May. The winning Chapter receives two complementary  registrations to National Conference.

Another way to raise money is to ask for donations. Contact your local PRSA Chapter or reach out to the Champions for PRSSA to see if they have connections with local business and agencies that would want to support your Chapter’s goal. Also, don’t forget to check with your college’s finance department and student government — both usually have funds set aside for student organizations or professional development opportunities.

The bottom line is to get creative and use your resources. When your Chapter doesn’t have a big budget, focus on what resources your Chapter does have and capitalize on them.

You can do it!

“Dear Chapter Development” is a new Progressions series modeled after the famous “Dear Abby” advice column. The vice president of Chapter development will answer the most common questions from Chapter presidents and leaders.

Paige Weber is the 2014–2015 vice president of Chapter development and a recent graduate from Louisiana State University. She works as an assistant account executive at The Ehrhardt Group in New Orleans. Follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn

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