Phi Gamma Delta House Corporation Bulletin  
September 2019 House Corporation Newsletter

In This Issue

Note from 1848 Housing

Beginning of the Year Tips

From the Experts

Taxes for Non-Profits

Communication Plan


Welcome to another academic year! Thank you for the work that you do to provide housing for an undergraduate chapter of Phi Gamma Delta. That work is important, and the Fraternity wants to provide the resources that you need to be effective. 

This message will address a number of matters that should be of interest to you. 

A Note from 1848 Housing

"You can't expect to improve and change nothing.” This was one of the favorite sayings of my former boss, mentor and past Archon President Bob Albin (Missouri 1962)

What is your house corporation planning on changing this year so you can improve? One of the things that is most important to all of us is safety. So, if you only have the bandwidth to focus on one thing right now, we want to encourage you to make to focus on safety. What are the types of things you do to improve safety? The list below shares a few ideas:

  • Conduct an unannounced fire drill
  • Ensure that all your major systems have been inspected and tested
    • Fire alarm system
    • Sprinklers
    • Security systems (locks, cameras)
    • Check on exterior lighting
    • Check that fire extinguishers are in place and good working order
    • Check that all exterior door locks are in good working order
  • Verify that hazardous items are stored correctly (propane tanks, gasoline, etc.)
  • Start using the new Safety Checklist 
  • Look into adding heat sensors in attic spaces

If you have the bandwidth to do more than focus on safety, then we encourage you to start looking through the Best Practices and start to work on other areas that will help your house corporation succeed! 

Later in the newsletter, we talk about the new communications plan. We can’t stress enough the importance of doing a better job of staying connected with the graduate members of your chapter. Over 40% of our house corporations are planning to do a campaign soon, and fundraising experts all agree that you need to have two solid years of communication with your graduates before attempting a campaign. (Plus, communication is your obligation - they are your shareholders and deserve to be kept in the loop!) 

Regarding finances, we want to encourage you to look at and build up your financial reserves. In the recent housing survey that was completed, 39% of our house corporations reported having less than $50,000 in reserves. And, 44% indicated that they feel they are charging below market rate for living at the house—if your house is one of these, what can you do to change that? 

Are you meeting enough? In the survey, it was reported that 47% of our house corporations are only meeting two times per year…that is not frequent enough!

We are just a phone call away to help you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! 

Steve Bocher
Chairman of 1848 Housing


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Beginning of the Year Tips

The early part of the fall season should be a busy time for your house corporation team. Starting the year off with strong communications should hopefully pay dividends through the remainder of the year.

This resource provides six timely tasks that we encourage house corporations to do as the academic year begins.

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From the Experts: A Message from Our Preferred Providers 

Upper Crust Food Service
Upper Crust was kind enough to provide an article discussing how pulling off great events is not easy. There are a lot of moving parts and getting the food right is one of them. Read what Upper Crust has to say in the article.

Columns Fundraising
In case you missed it: Columns Fundraising and 1848 Housing recently held the second edition of their Fundraising 101 and Fundraising 201 webinar series. In the webinar, Mark Wilkison (Vermont 1983) discussed how to successfully run and manage a capital campaign and how to best utilize communications with your chapter's graduates. You can also visit Columns Fundraising's website for any questions HERE.

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Taxes for Non-Profit Organizations 

All nonprofit entities in the U.S., including house corporations, are required to file an annual tax return with the IRS. The return is some version of the Form 990 and is due by the 15th day of the 5th month following the close of the fiscal year. For those house corporations that have adopted a fiscal year end consistent with the Fraternity's on June 30, this is due by November 15, 2018.

Nonprofit entities that fail to file the annual return for three consecutive years will have their tax-exempt status revoked. The loss of tax-exempt status means that the entity must operate as a for-profit entity, with its revenue, such as dues and rent, subject to income tax. Unfortunately, several chapters and house corporations have lost their exempt status and are working through an onerous process to regain it. To check if your chapter / house corporation is on the revocation list, go to this page on this IRS website.

If your chapter/house corporation is not on the list, but you know that the tax return has not been filed for one or more years, you should give this your immediate attention. And, we suggest you engage a local tax professional to assist you. The Fraternity may also be able to direct you to assistance if your tax-exempt status has been revoked by contacting Will Shier.

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House Corporation Communications Plan - Reminder

With a new academic year here, it is good to remember how to best communicate with your chapter's graduates. To continue to grow and improve the resources available to our house corporations, we recently added a house corporation specific communications plan that includes samples and a pricing model that the international fraternity can offer your house corporation.

The operation of a house corporation is not just managing the physical house, it involves maintaining solid communications with your graduates. That consistent communication leads to improved graduate support of the chapter, increased interest in graduate volunteer positions on the house corporation and BCA and easier fundraising campaigns with engaged graduates.

Visit the House Corporation Communication Plan to view communication samples, templates and estimated prices. We have created a comprehensive plan for house corporations to use for their own graduate communication plans.

There is a suggested communication schedule with the ideal amount of communications to help keep graduates engaged with the chapter, including events, newsletters, Pig Dinners and, most importantly, future fundraising.

You will also find the webinar, "21st Century Strategy For Operating Your House Corporation" with the research behind the communication plan here. Some of that research by fundraising experts suggest that house corporations need at least two years of communication with graduates to run the most successful fundraising campaigns.

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You are receiving this newsletter because you are listed as a House Corporation member for a Phi Gamma Delta Chapter/Colony. If you are no longer a member of a House Corporation contact Thomas Lovejoy, Director of Graduate Involvement. 

You may also contact Thomas to determine who is currently listed in the Fraternity's records. 


© 2016 Phi Gamma Delta

1848 Properties Inc.
1201 Red Mile Road, Lexington, Kentucky 40544-4599  |  859.255.1848