Obtaining Financial Support For Your Local Chapter

1. Use of funds. Like any organization, a local Sigma Zeta chapter requires funds for many of its activities. Some invited speakers will request an honorarium or reimbursement for travel expenses. Refreshments at meetings or when speakers are presenting often helps attendance. Gasoline and mileage must usually be paid when using the school’s vans for transportation on field trips. Office supplies are needed when preparing meeting and other announcements, and copying costs also fall under this budget area. Some service activities require supplies (e.g. bags used during clean-up outings). Many fund-raisers require an initial investment to get started, and, of course, funds are spent on most social activities of the organization.

If a chapter chooses to send representatives to the National Convention, major fund raising will likely be required. For chapters near the host chapter, travel costs will be small, but lodging and food for a two-night stay must be funded. For chapters that must travel several hundred or more miles, travel costs to the convention can easily be greater than the remainder of the total expenses of the chapter for the entire year. (See 5. below for help from the national organization)

2. Local fund-raisers - Be Creative! Some ideas that have worked well for student organizations include:

  • Asking for $1 donations for a chance at a pair of good tickets to a major concert or sporting event (it’s actually illegal to sell chances, so print "No purchase required" on the raffle ticket)
  • Doing work projects or providing services for local businesses and asking for a tax exempt donation is often successful.
  • Food sales at lunch time in a major gathering area for students or at booths during festivals and other events (ex. deserts, burgers, sausage tacos, etc...)
  • Flower and candy sales at Valentine’s Day

3. Institutional support

  • Departmental - Some college/university departments budget funds for support of their local Sigma Zeta chapter.
  • Administrative - If the chapter advisor approaches the dean of the college or school that includes sciences and mathematics, the dean may be willing to help with travel costs for each student that is presenting a paper at the National Convention.
  • Student Activities Funds - On many campuses, each recognized campus organization can apply for a portion of the student activities fee. In addition, some divisions of student life have set aside money for organizations with special activities (e.g. a trip to the National Convention) to apply for additional funding.

4. Dues. Most chapters expect members of the honor society to pay their own national dues. The local chapter can also require additional dues to go towards local expenses. In chapters that also double as a science/ math club, members of the club who do not qualify for national membership can also be charged local dues.

5. Support from the National Organization

Mileage for transportation costs to the National Convention - The national organization will provide help with the cost of travel to the National Convention in the form of 40 cents per mile (round trip) for every multiple of five national members attending. For example, if 1-5 members from a chapter attended a convention and traveled 1000 miles (round trip), that chapter would receive a check for $400, whereas if 6-10 members made the trip, the check would be for $800.

  • 1 - 2 members attending $0.40/ mile (up to costs incurred)
  • 3 - 5 members attending $0.40/ mile
  • $0.40/mile additional for every additional 5 members attending (6 - 10, 11-15, 16 -20)

Grant support to attend the National Convention - For chapters that have not attended the national convention for three consecutive years, additional funds (beyond the mileage payment) may be provided by the national organization, up to $50 per person attending the convention. These grants must be requested by the chapter, and the total amount available for all awards granted in a given year is limited to $500.