As we’ve mentioned before, the duties and responsibilities of a fraternity treasurer can be difficult. As the chapter treasurer, you’re dealing with a group of young men between the ages of 18-22, as a young man who’s roughly the same age. It’s not a great combination for structuring and instilling fiscal responsibility. As a bonus, you’re dealing with a demographic of college students, meaning that for miles around you the general income level of your contemporaries is zero (with a “Z”), yet they’re still saddled by debt and expenses (school loans, food, groceries, rent, utilities, gas, etc.).
You get the picture. Dealing with finances is hard, but if you need help OmegaFi has your back.
So when it comes to executing the role of being a chapter’s fraternity treasurer, it can often be a tall order. In some cases it’s more demanding than that of the chapter president or vice president. In truth, a treasurer’s job is similar to that of running a business; they’ve got to make sure all the beans add up for anything to happen. In this sense the entire structure of a chapter rests on the shoulders of an intelligent and discerning treasurer.
For your benefit, OmegaFi is here to give some foresight into the challenges of being a fraternity treasurer and bring you the 5 Biggest Hurdles to Overcome as a Fraternity Treasurer.
5. Bringing Structure to the Office
Although we mentioned this above, we’ll say it again for clarity’s sake: A fraternity treasurer is the catalyst for internal structure. Here at OmegaFi we can’t stress that enough. As a fraternity treasurer, your job is to look at the budget for your organization (either by the semester or the year) and choose how to meticulously allocate it with an eye to get a return on your investment in some cases. For example, let’s say your chapter suggests that you use part of the treasury to improve your Rush Week activities. Yes, this may be an added expenditure that needs to be properly accounted for, but the return on investment could mean more recruits, which could mean more dues in the long run and an increased budget.
In a general sense, it’s important to add a degree of structure to the office itself. However you take submissions for new events from your social and events chairs, make it as formal of a process as possible. For instance, if a brother comes to you with an event idea for a pool party, require them to have a full proposal document coupled with an attached budget. From there you can give notes on information you still need in order to approve for voting at your next chapter meeting. This may all sound a little bureaucratic, but trust us--structure will make your life a lot smoother.
4. Crafting a Budget for the Year
Adding to the list of responsibilities for a treasurer, the treasurer’s job is to also create a budget for the upcoming year. Working from the vision and directive of the president, the treasurer will take the proposed semester or year-end programming schedule and quantify it into a budget. For instance, if your organization throws five large events annually, those may be the first items accounted for within the yearly budget—perhaps needed adjustment when scaling for size or scope.
However, the challenge of crafting a budget for the year can be the incidentals; these are the things that come up that eat away at your budget in small bites. These incidentals can be an unintended cost like a lost rental deposit on equipment for an event, or a large gratuity for a previous formal. The key to overcoming this hurdle is to always give your budget a bit of wiggle room to cover the cost of the unforeseen incidentals. If an event cost $2,000 dollars to run, give yourself $2,500 dollars as a final budget. If you don’t use it, pat yourself on the back because you just created a surplus.
3. Growing the Treasury
What’s often unseen within the role of being a treasurer is the fact that he has to be money-minded. We don’t mean this in the obvious sense of having to keep track of the money. We mean that maintaining the status quo cannot be the only function of a chapter treasurer. He’s also got to work towards growing the business of the fraternity. This means finding avenues for revenue such as car washes, bake sales, donating plasma, whatever. It also means that the investment of the chapter’s resources must be allocated wisely in order to ensure a return on investment. We mentioned earlier that a chapter may decide to spring for more elaborate Rush Week preparations, knowing that the added production value may increase recruitment, which ultimately means increasing dues collected and the budget as a whole. It’s this kind of mindset that a chapter treasurer must have in order to grow the treasury and the chapter overall.
2. Keeping Track of All the Odds and Ends
A fraternity treasurer’s job is a meticulous one. There’s a lot to keep up with in order to ensure that there are no loose financial ends hanging. For starters, aside from the fact that a single lost receipt can mean a lack of proof for a given expenditure, there’s the added concern of having to remember important events and dates. What do we mean? All those dates regarding paying local dues, regional dues, national dues and even dues to your school’s IFC board are all payments and bills that your chapter treasurer must keep in mind and execute on time. That’s a lot to keep into account, particularly as a college student with your own personal life of bills and expenses to account for simultaneously.
1. Collecting Dues, Of Course
We’ve said this again and again, but collecting dues is hard. In fact, collecting money from anyone isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, and if you ask most fraternity treasurers, they will reiterate this point.
Establish the structure early on and nail it down on the outset. Your brothers need to know how much they’re expected to pay, where it’s going, and that they’ll gain a sense of ownership of chapter activities via transparency into the year’s budget and events. If brothers understand that their money isn’t just going into a digital pot to never be seen or heard from again, and instead is going to pay for their new chapter t-shirts, or the formal they’re excited about, they’ll be easier to convince when asking them to cough up the cash.
Have any fraternity treasurer horror stories? Let us know in the comments below.