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Eye on Psi Chi: Summer 2020

Eye on Psi Chi

Summer 2020 | Volume 24 | Number 4

What Does It Mean to “Give Back to Psi Chi”?

Cynthia Wilson, MPA, CFRE
Psi Chi Central Office

Three years ago I began my Psi Chi journey. I have a public administration background and a great deal of experience in nonprofit management, but at that time I had no experience specifically in honor societies and none in psychology other than my Intro to Psych course in undergrad. Wanting to learn all I could as quickly as I could, I delved into many aspects of psychology. Early on I wanted to know more about our Board of Directors (all of whom are PhD faculty of psychology). I read the writings of Dr. Robert Cialdini, Dr. Robert Rosenthal, and Dr. Florence Denmark (all Psi Chi Distinguished members). I also took a MOOC through Coursera on social psychology taught by Dr. Scott Plous at Weslyan (CT).

Now, psychology is at the forefront of all my membership and development efforts with Psi Chi. I want to know who our members are. What benefits will be most attractive to them? What will appeal to them when I draft content for the Digest or Eye on Psi Chi. And when wearing my development hat, I think carefully about approaching those who donate to Psi Chi, because I know that Psi Chi members are very thoughtful and purposeful in their approach to things.

Three years ago, when I hit the ground running to develop an annual giving campaign for Psi Chi, I thought long and hard about what to call it. There were many iterations. But I landed on Give Back to Psi Chi and for me, at least, it stuck.

I have worked closely with many members of the Psi Chi Board of Directors, I have led focus groups with student members, and I have had conversations with Psi Chi faculty advisors about their daily work with their chapters. What was clear to me then and is still clear to me now is that Psi Chi gives to its members.

Psi Chi dedicates and invests over $400,000 each year back into our members in the form of awards, research grants, and scholarships. Through our awards and grants programs, we fund travel to conventions where valuable research is presented and where colleagues from around the world can convene and share knowledge. We fund our Membership Assistance Fund (MAF) to help students who could not otherwise afford the cost of a Psi Chi membership. Psi Chi also accepts funds to help chapters in need: we helped members at University of Puerto Rico San Piedras after Hurricane Maria, along with helping chapters in other circumstances.

So, when it came time to capture the “why” members or supporters would donate to Psi Chi, I developed the Give Back to Psi Chi campaign. I did so because not only have I seen and heard from members who have benefitted directly from Psi Chi and wish to give back; I have also heard from supporters, some of whom are not Psi Chi members, who nonetheless value our mission and want to be a part of building the next generation of psychology.

Not only does Give Back to Psi Chi mean giving in the form of donations, it also highlights what members already do on a daily basis. Faculty Advisors give their precious time and share knowledge and wisdom. Many chapters lead service projects to benefit their university or community. More still help disseminate information about the value a lifetime Psi Chi membership can offer to those who have interest or need.

In essence, all of us who care about Psi Chi give back in one way or the other. Each year, the Give Back to Psi Chi annual giving campaign supports all Psi Chi member programs. And all of us give back in a way that is hopefully meaningful to us and that benefits others.

So now, three years on, what do I know about psychology? I know that psychology encompasses all our inquiries to what makes things work and what makes us tick. Just like our current Psi Chi President promotes #PsychEverywhere, let’s take a moment to reflect on why we Give Back to Psi Chi? Did you win an award, did you travel to a convention, do you have a mentor you met through Psi Chi?

Psi Chi exists to both recognize and promote excellence in the science and application of psychology. When we give back, we are recognizing and investing in the excellence of others. Won’t you help build the future of psychology? Won’t you Give Back to Psi Chi? Please visit



Copyright 2020 (Vol. 24, Iss. 4) Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology

Psi Chi Central Office
651 East 4th Street, Suite 600
Chattanooga, TN 37403

Phone: 423.756.2044 | Fax: 423.265.1529


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