The philanthropy and community service efforts of our chapters on an international level truly speaks to the good that we can do when we use our resources to benefit our communities. Recalling the four True PIKE commitments, a commitment to our communities goes hand in hand with our membership in this organization. The best way to realize this commitment is to build a program that will only improve as time goes on.

Organize the Committee

The purpose of community service is to ensure that each chapter member has the opportunity to donate time and raise money for benefit of the community of the chapter. Between all the events that it takes to accomplish that objective, there can be plenty of moving parts. To help manage the program, your committee might consist of:

  1. PIKE Philanthropy Event Captain – the primary organizer and overseer of the PIKE sponsored philanthropy event.
  2. PIKE Community Service Event Captain – the primary organizer and overseer of the PIKE sponsored community service event.
  3. Event Captain(s) – the primary organizers of the various community service and philanthropy events. There should be an event captain for each community service and philanthropy event.

Plan the Event Schedule for the Year

There are two parts to planning the event schedule for the community service program. One part involves setting dates for the PIKE philanthropy event and for the PIKE community service event that should both fit into the chapter calendar. The second part depends primarily on events around campus and the community, which are coordinated by other organizations.

For the first part of planning the event schedule for community service, since you only have to plan for our recommended two PIKE-sponsored events, you should first work to identify the length of time that these events will last. These events can last anywhere from a weekend to a week-long in length. It is up to you to determine what timeframe will be most effective for the results you are trying to achieve with your events. Once you have finalized how long the PIKE-sponsored events will last, you can then choose which weekends or weeks these events will take place. This process should be completed during the chapter goal-setting retreat and/or executive council retreat, well in advance of the actual events. If it has not already been planned, pick weekends or weeks when there are not many other events or commitments by chapter members. As long as the events have been identified far enough in advance, there should be plenty of time to properly plan and execute the events.

For the second part of planning the event schedule for community service, because your involvement depends on the efforts of other organizations, it is important to continually attend meetings of these organizations or maintain consistent communicate with these organizations throughout the academic year. By attending these meetings or having members of your committee attend these meetings, you should be able to develop a rough outline of when certain events and opportunities take place throughout the year. It is important to have this rough outline established so that you and the rest of the chapter have enough foresight in order to properly prepare for each event and opportunity.

As long as you maintain clear communication and continually update your schedule based on the different organization events, the chapter should be more capable to participate and be involved in community service and philanthropy efforts.

Create a Spreadsheet

A chapter’s community service spread sheet should be simple, yet be able to show exactly how engaged a brother is in the community. The best way to track your community service hours is to have this document saved in an online database, such as a Google document. This allows for it to be transitioned from chairman to chairman and is kept in real time mode. Storing the document as a Google document can also ensure the document is saved at all times and is not deleted or lost. Below is a sample community service spreadsheet.

A chapter’s philanthropy spreadsheet is designed to track all contributions a PIKE makes to charities. This also includes all of the funds a chapter raises throughout the year as they host philanthropy events. For examples of both spreadsheets, see the community service handbook.

Identify Potential Sponsored Events

Chapter sponsored events are often the most fun to be part of because brothers coordinate the service event from start to finish. A chapter sponsored community service event is one that the chapter organizes. These events do not raise money but are designed to give time and effort to an organization. Here is a listing of potential events your chapter can host:

  • Visitation of retirement center, nursing homes, children’s hospitals, general hospitals
  • Mentor program at local elementary, middle, or high school
  • Clean-up day at a local retirement center or local charity
  • Hosting a community and campus cleanup
  • Volunteer to do office work at a local charity
  • Organizing an Easter egg hunt for local children
  • Establishing a canned-food drive
  • Hosting a Christmas party for local underprivileged children
  • Recycling
  • Clothing drive
  • Highway or block clean-up
  • Safe ride program
  • Book drive
  • Hosting a rake-a-thon for neighbors or shoveling snow

Philanthropy events help to raise money for organizations in your community. These are well-planned special events that are open for the college community as well as the city in which your chapter is located. Here is a listing of potential philanthropy events your chapter can host:

  • Open microphone night
  • Athletic event
  • Powder puff football
  • Basketball tournament
  • Volleyball tournament
  • Golf tournament
  • Bowl-A-Thon
  • Dance
  • Haunted house
  • 5K
  • Bike-A-Thon
  • Gala or formal dinner event
  • Car wash
  • Valentine’s Day cards and candy

In my experience working with various chapters, the best community service and philanthropy programs are ones that the chapter has an emotional tie to. If the chapter can rally around a cause that affects a brother or even multiple brothers, the level of dedication to the event is that much higher.

Document Community Service and Philanthropy

Reporting hours is one of the most important parts to a successful community service program.

While hours are easily tracked when it is a chapter sponsored event, volunteer hours outside of

chapter sponsored events must be tracked as well. To do this, chapters can create a form for submitting hours/dollars raised (Google forms is a great tool), email it out to members weekly, host it on their website, or pass out physical forms at meetings.

The community service handbook has plenty of details and descriptions that will help bolster your chapter’s program. Even if you start small with these events, the name of the game is to create continuity in this program so that each event can be built on annually. Even the chapters that raise thousands of philanthropy dollars each year started somewhere, so begin with the end in mind!

Jarrett M. Way

Director of Educational Content & Strategy