Here we go again. Budgeting for your fraternity chapter is the ghost that won’t stop haunting you. And if you’re in debt or budgeting poorly, it’s not a great ghost to have around. It’s one of those with patches all over its tweed jacket, a musty old hat and some cheap wingtip shoes with his toes sticking out. The ghost has a briefcase, but there’s no sweet, sweet cash inside. Oh, no. No unmarked bills to spend as you dream of formals laden with chocolate fountains, crystal chandeliers, and ice sculpture busts of you, the great and powerful treasurer.
Let them eat cake.
This is what you might think as you look out upon your loyal subjects waltzing across the ball room. Because, yes, there would be cake--lots and lots of cake. But no, that’s not how it goes down after all. The ghost in the shabby suit grins at you with his five o’clock shadow/neck beard, copper tooth glinting in the afternoon sun, and opens his briefcase to show you what’s left of your beloved treasury. A single moth meanders out and floats away, having eaten most of the lining inside. What can you do? Who you gonna call? Luckily for you, OmegaFi now offers ghost removal services. If you follow these 3 Proven Budgeting Techniques for Fraternities to Adopt Right Now, your chapter house will soon be devoid of all phantasms, poltergeists, nightgaunts, ghouls, boogeymen, headless horsemen, and the scariest creature of all: debt.
The thing is that we don’t have any fancy ray guns and ghost traps. Well, we have one really big mechanism for containing the ghost of chapter debt, the handy-dandy Vault financial management program. However, we here at OmegaFi want not only to help with your present financial woes, but also to make sure your fraternity chapter has the tools to keep your ledger from looking like a teenager’s bleak poetry journal. This means that by adopting the right approach to budgeting, you can help your chapter flourish right now.
Let’s have a little quiz.
1.) You’re planning your first fraternity event. A caterer falls through, and the replacement you found last-minute costs twice as much. What do you do?
- Panic. Yell at the catering company over the phone. When they won’t lower the price, ask someone else to deal with it.
- Expect the unexpected. You’ve left some wiggle room in the budget, and luckily you can pull from somewhere else. Sure, the caterer costs an arm and a leg, but you have some extra appendages thanks to your diligent planning.
- Cater the event yourself. How hard can it be?
The answer is:
- Expect the unexpected. Yep, it’s a lame idiom. It’s the kind of thing you absolutely expect in the category of lazy advice. Yet there is a very good reason these old clichés survive for as long as they do--not because they’re particularly exciting or inspiring, but because they contain a nugget of truth that can’t be ignored. If you’re the treasurer for your fraternity chapter, this is an absolute must. Now, this isn’t exactly the same as chapter savings. It’s similar, in that you’re putting money aside. But the difference is that the chapter’s budget cannot be completely rigid in the first place. While savings is money put aside for future semesters and growth, you also have to account for the fact that dues might not come in as easily as you’d like, and anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Things fall through. Some wiggle room in the budget will keep you from certain disaster. And let’s face it, you belch and drop stuff a lot, and thus aren’t really cut out for the whole food service industry thing. There’s no way your brothers are going to let you get away with catering the event yourself.
2.) Your social chairman wants a wicked party that will blow the other fraternity chapters out of the water. Your recruiting chairman pleads with you; a lot of brothers are graduating and numbers are dwindling. Philanthropy chairman says, “Do you even volunteer, bro?”--obviously referring to your coal black heart if you don’t give generous funds to the chapter’s philanthropy efforts. What do you do?
- Party. Party, party, party. Blood drive? Recruiting quality brothers? Eh, it’ll figure itself out.
- Four ghosts visit you in the night. Christmas is real after all. Philanthropy gets every dime. It’s time to give up your partying ways. What’s a few extra brothers to the kindness of human charity?
- What does your chapter need most?
We’ll get right to it. The answer is . . .
- What does your chapter need most? A proven budgeting technique your fraternity can adopt right this very instant is to think critically about your funds. They’re not unlimited like Scrooge’s, after all. Yes, philanthropy events are critical to your chapter’s relationship with the surrounding community. Yes, socials are needed to blow off steam and keep morale off the floor. Yes, you need to have brothers to do these things in the first place. But you don’t need to focus heavily on all these things at the same time. Which aspect of your organization is hurting most right now? Which can go with a little less funding until next semester?
3.) Brothers promise they’re going to pay dues on time this semester. Some of them literally never have in the past. But they pinkie swear, man. What can you do?
- They’d never tell a lie. They’re incapable of deceit. Upstanding gentlemen, is what they are. Trust them. They’ll have it for you tomorrow: their Mastercards served to you on a golden platter.
- They’re all lying, those philanderers. You’re so angry that you’re breaking out your dictionary to come up with mean words to call your fellow fraternity brothers--some aren’t even the right words. Philanderer, for example. Your budgeting prowess will succumb to these brigands and rustlers, with their false promises and “I’ll get you at the next chapter meeting, promise, bro” untruths. They shall be excommunicated!
- It’s like herding cats. Fuzzy’s following the tuna can! Success! But where is Sniffles going? Scratching your . . . favorite loafers? No, Sniffles! Bad Sniffles!
Yep. Your brothers are basically cats. Don’t laugh--you are, too, in the semesters you’re not acting treasurer. Get over it. It’s right retribution to you, Sniffles.
- herding cats, as the expression goes, is nonetheless a trying experience. You’ll be pulling out your hair in no time if you expect the cats to go where you tell them on command. The idea is to be as encouraging as possible, as strict as necessary, and as flexible as you can. Payment plans may be necessary. Some massages may be in order. Do what you must, but expect some roadblocks in this department when you’re envisioning your perfect, glimmering budget. Working with what you have and not always having what you need is just a part of the process.
So now you’ve got zero ghosts and plenty of cats, right? What proven budgeting techniques have your fraternity chapter adopted? Let us know right meow in the comments below.