Have Fun With a Purpose / Zeta of Kappa Delta Rho
GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT. Kappa Delta Rho Penn State illustrates how truth in branding and creative innovation can heighten the experience between an organization and its members. In the 1990s, KDR’s annual fund program had basically reached a plateau, consistently bringing in about $7k annually. After years of neglect, the house no longer appealed to upperclassmen—many of whom left to find more private, updated housing situations elsewhere. In 2001, KDR decided to re-launch its alumni relations program with a renewed passion and focus. This “juiced up” annual fund program brought in $112K in less than ten years. Best yet, this initiative provided a solid foundation for KDR’s capital campaign that launched a few years later. KDR’s community of supporters pledged more than $820K to the capital campaign—bringing the total amount raised to more than $930K.
GET IN THE MINDSET. With the help of Affinity Connection, KDR conducted a research survey to better understand what its members were looking for in an alumni program. The results were clear: alums wanted to relive the glory days as the fun, unpredictable brotherhood on campus. KDR jokingly referred to itself as Penn State’s “anti-fraternity.” That was the group’s brand—and its alumni were ready to roll back the clock.
BOYS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN. Taking direction from the research findings, KDR revamped its alumni communications program. The goal: to sell the dream of a second chance at brotherhood. To do so, KDR developed a website to keep brothers connected with all the harmless antics of its current actives and alums. KDR also created multi-channel communication pieces (newsletters, emails, postcards, etc) to drive traffic to their website. More importantly, these tactics carried an irreverent tone that truly sold the “fun factor” of brotherhood—and built dialogues with its members by asking them to submit pictures and memories of the good ole days.
To encourage members to revisit campus, KDR invested in a cleaning service to spruce up the house prior to special events. Alums were welcomed into a clean home, provided a nice meal, and had the chance to meet its gracious undergraduates. These interactions were designed to help members reconnect to the cause. In addition to numerous golf outings, KDR also chartered buses that would chauffer alumni from nearby cities to campus for the festivities of Homecoming weekend. These alums could then relive those life-changing social gatherings that had brought such joy to them during their undergraduate years. Through series after series of meaningful touchpoints such as this, KDR was able to build a solid foundation for its fundraising efforts.
A PROVEN PROCESS. Amongst all of the fun, KDR was actually working through a proven process developed by Affinity Connection. KDR had acquired the technology tools to succeed, conducted research to define the emotional triggers of its alumni, and used direct marketing techniques and special events to strengthen that connection—all before asking for support.
Over the years, KDR has discovered how to elevate the alumni experience by bringing meaning to their affiliation with the chapter. In doing so, KDR was able to translate this intangible asset into $932K in donations. Today, KDR’s newly renovated home is a competitive jewel on Penn State’s campus. Unlike other houses, it boasts dozens of private suites for its members. Even the upperclassmen have returned to the house, filling it with a renewed sense of maturity, leadership—and yes, just a tad bit of playfulness.