5 Tips for Your Next Fraternity or Sorority Alumni/ae Event

Mathew Tooker • Nov 01, 2022

When a college freshman joins a fraternity or sorority, they’re not just signing up for a club that will look good on a resume. They’re becoming part of a tight-knit community of individuals who will continue to strive for excellence in all areas of life—even after graduation day. 

However, for many fraternity and sorority members, the shift from student member to alumnus or alumna can change their level of engagement with their chapter. This is why it’s imperative for fraternities and sororities to host alumni events and provide consistent opportunities for alumni/ae to reconnect with each other and with student members—to keep the community strong and encourage alumni to give back to their chapter or community. 

Alumni events are a great way to engage your members who have moved on from college life, showcase what current student members can look forward to in the future, and show support for a good cause. But do you know how to plan an effective alumni/ae event? 

If you’re in a planning rut, don’t worry. We’re here to offer you our five tips for your next fraternity or sorority alumni/ae event: 

  1. Choose engaging activities. 
  2. Start planning early. 
  3. Tap into alums’ nostalgia with your marketing materials. 
  4. Offer multiple opportunities to donate. 
  5. Involve current student members. 

Whether you’re planning to host an informal networking event at your chapter house or a high-end gala-type occasion, these tips will empower you to meet the challenge head-on and create an experience that your alumni/ae will never forget. 

1. Choose engaging activities. 

With some alumni/ae events, such as a back-to-school barbeque or car wash for charity, the activities for the big day are built right into the name. But in some instances, you may not know where to begin or could just be looking for a fresh idea. 

Here are some tried and true activities you might build into your own alumni/ae event: 

  • Networking or tutoring
  • Live or silent auction
  • Walk, ride, or roll race 
  • Service project 
  • Lecture, presentation, or workshop
  • Concert 
  • Carnival-style games 
  • Awards presentation

The activities that you plan for your event will give it shape and act as selling points as you promote it to your alumni/ae. To decide which activities are best for your unique audience, take into account your audience’s interests and your fraternity or sorority’s values

For example, maybe your sorority’s class of 2003 often collaborated with a local nonprofit that provided school supplies for children in need. Knowing this, you might add a service project element to your alumni event where you pack backpacks for that same organization. 

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2. Start planning early. 

It’s a long-held truth about event planning—even if your event feels far away now, it will be here before you know it. So don’t put off the planning stage. Even if you’re still conceptualizing what your alumni/ae event will look like, try to select a date and time that you can let your alumni/ae know about as soon as possible. You might send out an email announcement or printed save-the-dates. 

Here are a few other checklist items to stay on top of in the early planning stages: 

  • Book your venue, entertainment, and catering as soon as possible. 
  • Make sure that your alumni/ae database is up-to-date with the correct contact information for everyone you’re inviting to your event. 
  • Create a landing page on your website where you can house all your event information and provide updates as they arise. 
  • Use your fraternity or sorority management platform to communicate with fellow members and leaders and keep up with various event-planning tasks. 

Early planning will pay off as you’re able to combat stress and worry in the last few days leading up to your event.

3. Tap into alums’ nostalgia with your marketing materials. 

Chances are, your alumni/ae have fond memories of their time as student members of your fraternity or sorority chapter. So, why not tap into the nostalgia they feel about the “good ol’ days” as you create your marketing materials? 

For example, you might gather photos or stories from older alumni/ae and use them in your printed promotional materials. Or, you might use music or pop culture references that will resonate with your alumni/ae in your social media content. 

You can also be mindful of the language you’re using in your marketing collateral. Try using phrases like: 

  • Remember when…
  • Join us to reconnect with your sorority sisters!
  • Reunite with us.
  • Pay it forward—make a difference for new fraternity brothers. 

These are just a few examples of language that can evoke emotion and a desire for connection, encouraging them to RSVP “Yes!” to your alumni event.

4. Offer multiple opportunities to donate. 

One of the most important functions of alumni/ae events is to encourage these members to give back to their chapters by donating. There are many ways to solicit alumni/ae donations, but the most important thing to remember is that more opportunities to donate will result in more donations. So, rather than thinking of the most out-of-the-box way to collect donations, think about how you can provide a greater number of opportunities for alumni/ae to give. 

It may be helpful to think about these opportunities as coming up before, during, and after the event: 

  • Before the event: Ahead of your alumni event, you might require an event registration fee. Or, you may just include a donate button on your event landing page or digital marketing materials that encourages attendees to give after learning about or signing up for your event. 
  • During the event: On the day of, make sure to continue to solicit donations. Your leaders may circulate through the event, striking up conversations with alumni/ae and encouraging them to give. You might host a live or silent auction, or even provide a text-to-give opportunity at some point during your activities. 
  • After the event: A post-event donation solicitation can keep your chapter at the forefront of your alums’ minds. For example, you might send out a thank-you message to your attendees that encourages them to also consider joining your recurring giving program or to keep an eye out for an upcoming peer-to-peer campaign

Donations are great, but there are other ways your alumni/ae can contribute, as well. Take the opportunity at each stage of your alumni event to educate them about volunteer opportunities, like mentoring or advising chapter leaders.

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5. Involve current student members. 

Current student members can also benefit from being involved with alumni/ae events. Not only will they get to know the alumni/ae community that they will someday be a part of, but they will also gain valuable experience in being active participants in your chapter, whether they’re simply attending the event or having a hand in running it. 

OmegaFi’s guide to fraternity and sorority management emphasizes the need to get every member involved in opportunities like these—doing so helps “a fraternity or sorority chapter ensure its long-term success as a professional campus organization that truly represents its letters.” 

Hosting a great alumni/ae event is no small feat. To get it right, you’ll need to approach the planning and execution of your events with deliberation and an eye to your alumni/ae audience’s needs and your chapter’s values. Follow our tips and you’re sure to find success with your next event. Good luck!

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About the author:

Mathew Tooker, Omegafi

Mathew Tooker is an expert in sales forecasting, analytics, goal-setting, client growth, and business development. With experience serving the Greek life community, nonprofits, and other member-based associations, Mathew is dedicated to providing tremendous value to his clients. 

When he’s not moving organizations forward, you can find him on the golf course, spending time with his two dogs, Reagan and Teddy, running marathons, and watching the Atlanta Braves. He’s also a graduate of Auburn University and a part-time MBA student at Florida State University.