I decided to take on a project to challenge and push myself, develop my professional skills, and create value for an organization I care deeply about: the Alumni Association of the Epsilon-Nu Chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha. In just one month, I’m creating a landing page for the alumni association on the chapter’s website, developed a recruitment plan to gain new members who wish to serve on the association, and developed a fundraising plan so that the association can help raise money for the chapter house in the coming future.
Why I Did This Project:
To anyone who doesn’t know, I’m a college graduate. In college, I had the pleasure of joining a fraternity: the Epsilon-Nu chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha. When I was an active member of the college chapter, I served as our IFC representative, recruitment chair, and president. I experienced an immense amount of growth as a leader, student, and individual as a whole. I now have the pleasure of being the Vice-Chairman of our alumni association.
While our alumni association has existed for quite some time, its operations have stayed relatively stagnant in recent years. Before I became Vice-Chairman, there had been very little in terms of a set structure, meetings had been hit or miss, there were little to no fundraising initiatives to support the chapter, and membership was constantly fluctuating.
With my project, I’m seeking to turn this around. While I had already been doing a few things to set this organization on the right track in the past several months, I decided to use this month to really get involved and make significant lasting changes.
With that, I wanted to tackle three areas where I saw room for growth: fundraising efforts, recruitment and retention of members, and a hub of information and resources available for the alumni association.
What Each Week Looked Like:
- Week 1: Project planning, goal-setting, and time-and-task management
- Week 2: Starting a landing page, prospecting leads, writing webpage copy
- Week 3: Documentation, writing copy for sales leads
- Week 4: The Final Stretch
What I Accomplished:
A Landing page:
My first goal was to create a landing page for the alumni board that would be located on the chapter’s website. I wanted to create a page where people could learn more about the board and have access to links where they could either join the board or donate to the board. I also wanted to include a form that would allow for alumni visiting the page to update their contact information in case the chapter or the alumni association ever needed to reach out to them. I accomplished all of that. You can see the landing page I made here. I designed the layout, wrote all of the copy, and made all of the necessary modifications needed to fit the aesthetic of the chapter website and fit in all the information I needed.
Recruitment and Fundraising Plans:
My next goal was to put together two plans that would help me develop my sales skills. The plans were very similar, but with two different goals in mind. One would be a recruitment plan to seek out new volunteers to serve on the alumni board, and the other would be a fundraising plan to raise money for the board for any future alumni events and programs. For each plan, I made a leads list of individuals to reach out to and wrote several pieces of sales copy (i.e. messages to send via email, on LinkedIn, etc.) to send out to the individuals on the lists.
Things I Learned:
- How to project manage for a large-scale project
- How a Trello power-up helped me manage my time
- How to integrate Zapier with your Wix site
- How I prospected leads for my project
- What I learned about writing sales copy for a nonprofit organization
Challenges I Faced and How I Overcame Them:
Many of the challenges I faced had to do with the fact that the alumni board is still a small and growing organization. I’m not the only person on this board, which was something I had to keep in mind. Anything I did would have an impact on the board entirely, and it was going to be important for me to think carefully about what I wanted to do for this project in a smart and effective way.
I started this project with some goals in mind that didn’t particularly align with the direction the organization was going in. and I eventually learned that I needed to reassess my project goals and adapt accordingly. I ended up reevaluating my goals making plans that worked best for the organization with the time frame I was given.
Another challenge I had with this project was learning how to build a Wix landing page and how to use Zapier to integrate a Wix online form on the landing page with Google Sheets. Tech-savvy doesn’t come naturally to me, and I became overwhelmed when my “Zaps” weren’t working the way I wanted them to work.
To overcome this, I just dissected the problem and conducted careful research to identify what it was I needed to do to make my tech tools work the way I wanted them to. It was difficult, but all it took was a willingness to learn and a dedication to the completion of the project.
What I Would Have Done Differently:
For starters, I definitely should have started out with better goals. I was so quick to get a start on my project that I went in with unclear goals. This left me directionless and scattered at the start of my project, and it ended up making me work harder later on in my project as I didn’t start effectively. This was something that could have been avoided by planning my project more carefully.
I also wish I would have taken the time to learn more about the sales process. While I learned a lot about writing effective sales messages and copywriting, I wish I would have taken some time to learn about sales strategies for reaching out to leads. As I work on recruiting and fundraising for the board more in the future, I will eventually want to incorporate more of what I could learn from learning about sales processes. As of right now, I only have a foundation of sales copywriting and leads lists.