6 Ways to Fund Your Chapter’s Trip to the 2018 Convention

Diane Vanner Steinberg and Felicia Jean Steele have co-sponsored The College of New Jersey‘s Sigma Tau Delta chapter for 11 years, with Diane co-sponsoring it with another faculty member before then. They became serious about fundraising in 2009, after the Wall Street crash, because state college budgets would no longer simply pay for student travel. Furthermore, in 2009 they suddenly began having 20+ students interested in attending and presenting at convention. It was a perfect storm of increased interest and decreased revenue. Since then, with the exception of one year, they have taken at least twenty and as many as thirty-two students to convention every year.

They typically fund raise about $500 per student attendee, counting $300 that the college simply gives them. They keep records of individual fundraising, allowing some students to travel at no cost at all to themselves, and others to cover only their registration fee. Their fundraising often covers airfare, the shared hotel room, and registration.

Read on for 6 tips from these seasoned fundraisers!

So your chapter wants to attend convention without robbing banks—and no honor student should rob a bank!

1. Attend the General Business Meeting & Regional Caucus

Remember that the Sigma Tau Delta Central Office will fund your chapter $300 ($600 for chapters outside of the continental US) if at least one student member attends the business meeting and the regional caucus on Friday during convention. This $300 may be the easiest fundraising of all! The check will be mailed to you following convention, and can help cover incidentals during your time at convention.Convention Business Meeting

2. On-Campus Resources for Student Travel

With the help of your Chapter Sponsor, your department chair, or any friendly faculty member, explore on-campus resources for student travel. In the past, we have received money from our college’s Provost; our school’s Dean; the Deans in the Schools of Education, of Business, and of Arts and Communications; the Director of the Honors Program; and the Chair of the History Department. All these administrators have not given money each year, but if we have accepted papers in different subject areas, we simply ask. Many administrators have some “flexible spending” funds, and are willing to co-sponsor specific students or the entire group. Every donation helps. Some campuses provide funds for student travel through an office of Student Life or Student Activities. Your sponsor can contact the Dean of Students at your school to ask about processes and procedures.

3. Solicit Donations from Community Service Groups

Apple DayWe have also had some luck soliciting donations from community service groups in our students’ home towns. Kiwanis, Lions and Elks Clubs, and VFW and American Legion posts will sometimes make small donations if you write them a personal letter that describes the paper that will be read by the student from their town, especially a student who graduated from a local high school that you also name in the letter. You can also contact service groups associated with congregations, dioceses, and other faith communities.

4. Chapter Alumni Donations

Another source of donations has been chapter alumni who have gone to the convention in past years. We have only asked alumni once—for the 2015 Convention in Albuquerque—and for a very specific reason: transportation costs to Albuquerque were the highest our chapter has ever had to pay. We created a GoFundMe page to collect the alumni donations, and used the Sigma Tau Delta tax free number so that GoFundMe realized we were a charity and not a collection of individuals—have your Sponsor contact the Central Office for the necessary information. We set a goal of $145 per student attending the convention, and received donations from our alumni, our faculty, and even some of the grandparents of students who were going to attend the convention.

5. Raise Funds through Hard Work

In addition to our donations, we have also raised funds through hard work. A local orchard pays school groups $90 per student volunteer per day to help with their fall apple picking and apple selling events. Additionally we have signed up with Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser. Both of these are very successful because of the high rates of return. 100% from the orchard, and 75% from Applebee’s (which charges us $2 for each pancake eater and our pancake tickets are $8 for all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausages, juice, coffee, and tea). Many other restaurant fundraisers earn only 10%-20% of the money members spend on food, and those returns are not a wise investment of student time. Some chapters have also organized tag sales or “leaf-raking corps,” where students donate their time to rake leaves of local residents. These efforts can also reaffirm your institution’s commitment to the local community.

Applebee's Flapjack Fundraiser

Diane with her husband and son in 2011 at Applebee’s in Lawrenceville, NJ, for a Sigma Tau Delta Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser. The student waitress is Sarah Reyes who was a Sigma Tau Delta convention goer.

6. Gertrude Hawk Chocolate Sales

Another nationally available fundraising group that has been very lucrative for us is Gertrude Hawk, which sells chocolate bars in $1 and $2 sizes, and which returns 40%-50% depending on how many boxes of chocolates one orders. Most members have very little trouble selling the $1 chocolate bars. Other honor societies on our campus have sold Krispy Kreme donuts. Don’t tell your campus nutritionist!

The key to fundraising success is a student member who takes charge of it. This student member can be a fundraising chair, a chapter treasurer, or a separate student for each fundraiser.

Diane Vanner Steinberg
Felicia Jean Steele
Alpha Epsilon Alpha Chapter, Co-Sponsors
The College of New Jersey, Ewing Township, NJ

Fundraising Resources

Convention Funding
Chapter Life Fundraising
Sweet Fundraising Ideas: Holiday Candy-Grams
A Superhero Fundraiser Idea

Convention Submission Resources

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Convention Submissions due October 30

#Shakespeare400: Celebrating the Bard’s Quadricentennial

As a Sigma Tau Delta member, scholar of literature, theatre-goer, or user-of-the-internet, you may have heard that 2016 was the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. The Bard left us on April 23, 1616, after penning 37 plays and hundreds of sonnets. Fans of the playwright and poet nicknamed 2016 the “quadricentennial”—or #Shakespeare400 on social media.

Quadricentenial Quote BoardShakespeare’s fans have celebrated this very special deathiversary in various ways. Theatre companies around the world showed reverence to the playwright by staging his works—one company even successfully staged all his plays within the year. The First Folio went on tour throughout the United States, thanks to the Folger Shakespeare Library. The Crown Publishing Group began releasing famous novelists’ retellings of the Bard’s works in the Hogarth Shakespeare project. At the Sigma Tau Delta 2016 International Convention in Minneapolis, MN, attendees were invited in the registration area to share their favorite lines from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets on an ever-growing whiteboard. And individual Sigma Tau Delta chapters have done their part to celebrate, too.

Celebrating the Quadricentennial

Quadricentenial ColoringThe College of New Jersey‘s Alpha Epsilon Alpha Chapter worked throughout the year to show Shakespeare some love. In early spring, the chapter supported the English Department’s “Romances and Tragedies” course by providing refreshments and advertising for a staged reading of Macbeth. On April 23 itself, they hosted a Death Day party. Scenes were performed, Shakespeare-themed prizes were bestowed, coloring pages featuring the Bard’s face were adorned, and cake with his portrait was served. Finally, as the quadricentennial neared its close, the chapter planned one final event.

Every December during final’s week, the Alpha Epsilon Alpha Chapter co-sponsors with TCNJ’s chapter of Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honor Society a Reader’s Theatre event. This event is a staged reading of a play, advertised to the whole campus as part of Finals Fest, a huge itinerary of events for students in need of a break from studying. Traditionally, the staged reading has featured Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but last year, the two organizations decided they were feeling a different type of festive, and used the event as one last hurrah for the Bard’s 400th deathiversary.

Reader’s Theatre does #Shakespeare400

QuadricentenialBoth honor society chapters presented a cutting of The Tempest, considered by many to be a farewell of Shakespeare’s own. The 1611 romance is believed to be Shakespeare’s final work written under his sole authorship. The character of Prospero is thought to be the aging-Shakespeare’s insertion of himself into the text, as the Duke-turned-exiled-magician makes peace with his life and casts away his book of spells (often read as a metaphor for Shakespeare’s career as a powerhouse playwright). The romantic themes of The Tempest and its late placement in Shakespeare’s canon made it the perfect play to present as a final farewell for the quadricentennial.

The reading featured 16 students from both Sigma Tau Delta and Alpha Psi Omega, some familiar with the play, and others new to it. This meant that, often times, the comedic and more touching moments of the play genuinely were being experienced by the readers, making for a poignant performance. The audience was comprised of members of the honor societies as well as supportive friends, who aided the performance with their generous laughs and animated responses to the text. All attendees left with festive snacks in their bellies, uplifted spirits, and hopefully, a new resolve to face finals.

As we approach another April 23, what special events has your chapter hosted in celebration of the quadricentennial or the Bard’s deathiversary?

JBurkeJenna Burke
Associate Student Representative, Eastern Region, 2016-2017
Alpha Epsilon Alpha Chapter, Membership Officer
The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ

Opportunity to Impact Lives through a BWB Internship

Sophie Hulen was the 2016 recipient of the Sigma Tau Delta/Better World Books Summer Internship. Read on to learn about her experience, and to see what you could gain from applying for the 2017 BWB Internship.

Child Reads Harry PotterOne Christmas, before I was even old enough to read them myself, I was given the first two books in the Harry Potter series. The attachment was strong and immediate. As the remaining books in the series were released, I repeatedly was at the front of the line for the next chapter, eager to learn the fates of my favorite characters and watch their stories unfold. In fact, during my childhood, I was more often seen with a Harry Potter book—or any other book to be perfectly honest—than on a sport’s field or with a video game controller in my hands. I loved—and still love—to read. But this love is not a luxury granted to many children in our country.

I learned of Better World Books’ literacy program through my chapter’s textbook drive. Here was a program that helped put books like Harry Potter in needy hands. Every time someone purchases a book from BetterWorldBooks.com, they donate a book through one of hundreds of non-profit organizations. Through the charitable work of Better World Books, our country’s children are more easily able to access the same material that has shaped who I am today. And this is why I was so excited to be granted the Sigma Tau Delta/Better World Books 2016 Summer Internship.

BWB InternshipBWB Internship

One of the greatest benefits of a BWB Internship was that my six-week program was not built around a set group of tasks. Due to my interest in writing and communication, I was put in charge of a competitive marketing analysis. This meant I would do extensive research of their clients and competitors, creating a comprehensive analysis of what BWB was doing well, and what could be done better. Through this project I was connected with several executive members of the company, included in national conferences over Google Hangout, and was able to speak with a few of the company’s United Kingdom partners as well. To conclude my time with Better World Books, I was given the opportunity to present my analysis at their annual international marketing meeting.

Not only was I given the chance to do work I enjoyed, I essentially was in charge of my own work. Although I was supervised by the head of the marketing department, she gave me the freedom any traditional employee would have been given. I was, and still am, extremely grateful for the level of respect granted to me by my supervisor, as well as the rest of the staff both in Alpharetta and other offices across the country and in the UK.

BWB InternshipI absolutely recommend this internship to other Sigma Tau Delta members. The interpersonal, research, and presentation skills I learned and practiced during this time will prove invaluable to me in the future, and I am extremely glad I was able to spend my summer with Better World Books, doing my part to ensure books continue to reach needy children around the world. I can only hope my efforts introduced to someone a book that will impact their life in a similar way to how Harry Potter impacted mine.

What will motivate you to apply for the 2017 summer BWB Internship?

2017 Summer Internship

February 6 is the application deadline for the Better World Books (BWB) six-week paid summer internship for undergraduate members of Sigma Tau Delta chapters that have run Better World Books textbook drives. The internship takes place in the Atlanta metro area beginning in May or June and ending in June or July. The recipient will work 30 hours per week, earning $10 per hour. Sigma Tau Delta will provide an additional $1,500 stipend to assist with travel and housing expenses.

View: Application Submission Instructions

Sophie HulenSophie Hulen
Chapter President
Alpha Xi Epsilon Chapter
Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH