This week’s Chapter Spotlight is Delta Kappa (Wisconsin La Crosse), who recently planned an entire philanthropy event from scratch! Kylie Anderson, Delta Kappa’s VP of Marketing, shares the process of planning the first PhiSPN event, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.
What inspired you to start a brand-new philanthropy event on campus?
Delta Kappa has stayed consistent each year by hosting two philanthropy events: Red Dress Brunch in the fall, and Mr. Heartthrob, a male beauty pageant, in the spring. Because we were having trouble finding ways to involve our student body in our Red Dress event (due to the ticket price being outside of a typical college student’s budget), we decided to create a brand-new event that was tailored specifically to our campus community.
How did you decide on the event PhiSPN? What factors did you take into account when brainstorming potentially successful events for your campus?
Originally, we wanted to host an Alpha Phifa soccer event. But due to formal recruitment and the Midwest’s unpredictable fall weather patterns, we decided to host an indoor basketball tournament instead. UW-La Crosse is a very active campus, and basketball is one of the most popular recreational activities on campus. Basketball can also be played indoors and outdoors, so regardless of the weather our event could go on as planned.
Walk us through the step-by-step process of planning this event. When did the planning begin, and who helped with the preparations?
First, I (VP of Marketing) started the PhiSPN marketing campaign about two months prior to the event. This campaign included a cover photo, electronic advertisements, and organizing tabling dates in high-traffic areas of campus. Our Director of Philanthropy booked the UW-La Crosse Recreational Eagle Center (REC), which is easily accessible and consistently filled with students using the gym and playing basketball on the courts.
Three weeks prior to the event, I set up a page online for students to register for $15.00 per team. A Facebook event was then created, and UWL students and members of the La Crosse community were invited. Around that same time, we ordered PhiSPN t-shirts for our chapter sisters and the winners of the tournament.
One week before the event, our Director of Philanthropy created the brackets for a double-elimination tournament. Our PhiSPN committee also gathered to help assign chapter members to be coaches for specific teams. This committee also tabled on campus prior to the event, and helped with scoring and cheering on the teams during the event.
In what areas of your event did you see successes? How would you like to improve things for next year’s event?
For not having any money in our philanthropy budget set aside for this event, I think PhiSPN went very well. Our PhiSPN t-shirts were a huge hit – we were even asked if we had extras available for purchase! Several teams have already expressed that they’re excited to participate again next year, and we received a lot of compliments on how much fun PhiSPN was. It was our first time planning any sort of event like this, so there is always room for improvement. Our first priority for next year is finding a larger venue to give us the space to house all of the teams and spectators comfortably. We also want to have concessions open for spectators and teams throughout the event!
If you could start the event all over again, what would you change?
I would have definitely started the planning, marketing and registration for the event at least two months earlier than we did. I also would’ve made sure to allocate money from our philanthropy budget to PhiSPN in order to have more decorations and a higher-quality event. We didn’t have experienced referees, and that caused brief hiccups that could have been easily avoided. Participating teams also were upset that they didn’t get PhiSPN t-shirts, so I would have definitely closed the event sooner in order to receive shirt sizes ahead of time.
What advice would you share with other chapters looking to start an event from scratch?
Make sure you start planning well in advance! It’s also important to make sure that the event fits well with the environment and interests of your student body. Also, set the price per team appropriately to what a typical college student can afford. Although the main goal of philanthropy events is to raise money for a wonderful cause, students won’t sign up if the price is set too high. Make sure that you have the budget for all that you plan to execute – if you don’t, get creative and ask local businesses if they’re willing to make donations for exchange for publicity from your chapter. Planning a new event can be stressful, but it is so rewarding to see all your hard work pay off!