Sorority chapter elections often go like this:
“If elected tee-shirt chair, I promise breathable shirts with amazing designs and flecks of real gold in the fabric.”
“As social chair, I’d like you to imagine, if you will, a spring formal with a laser light show and Pitbull singing a personalized song to each of you.”
“I’m running for recruitment chair because I know we can have our best rush ever if we just spread some diamonds all around the chapter house floor. People like diamonds. They’ll think, Wow! That chapter must be pretty luxurious if they’re just throwing diamonds on the ground!”
“As your current chapter treasurer, I would like to say--ARE YOU ALL OUT OF YOUR MINDS?”
You might easily reason: Sorority finances aren’t my responsibility. I’m not running for chapter treasurer, so why should I care about the cost of my ideas? Promising luxury is the quickest way to blow other candidates out of the water.
What lame ideas are your opponents promising, anyway? Marginal improvements within a reasonable budget? Ha! What losers, right?
Well, actually, empty promises can backfire on you big time during a sorority election campaign.
Many sisters will see through your bluster and call you on your lies, especially older sisters. They’ve seen a budget or two, and if you’re promising ledger-busting luxury, they’re going to call you on it.
But what if your plan actually works and they elect you?
Unfortunately, that’s even worse. Yes, worse.
Why? Because now you have to actually fulfill those promises. And, spoiler alert: There’s no way you can actually fulfill those promises.
When you want to avoid sisters chasing your lying butt across campus with pitchforks and torches, there’s a simple solution.
Whether you’re running for treasurer or health and wellness chair, take the time to understand how the chapter budget works. Plan your ideas around the precedent set by those who held the position before you. Make promises that make fiscal sense, and share your budgeting ideas with sisters.
You’re bound to win big when you Build Sorority Finances into Your Officer Election Campaign, and OmegaFi can help.
Your Predecessors Can Help Pave the Way for a Successful Sorority Officer Campaign
If you’re looking to calculate where your campaign ideas fit into the chapter budget to the nearest decimal point, talk to those who’ve done the job.
Your first stop should be the outgoing officer. This sister has direct, recent experience with the position and its demands. She also understands how to manage finances and resources as the chapter budget evolves each semester.
Trends in past budgets for the position will give you a good indication of how to allocate funds. Some good questions to ask the outgoing officer include:
- What are necessary budget items for this officer position?
- What ideas did you add, and how did you pay for them?
- How did you handle budget deficits and cuts?
- What one piece of financial management advice would you give?
- What was your biggest mistake and how did you overcome it?
- What should this position focus on when coordinating with the sorority treasurer?
Speaking of the sorority treasurer, you should talk with her before election night as well. Get an idea about reasonable expectations for your position, what typical costs entail, and where they fall in order of importance for the chapter as a whole.
When you talk to the sisters who’ve served as officers before you, and who’ve budgeted their way to success, you’re bound to walk away with a financially responsible campaign ideas.
Sorority Election Officer Speeches: by the Numbers
Every idea has a price tag, and you shouldn’t shy from mentioning costs in your election night speech.
For one thing, it shows you’re accountable for your words. Your ideas are grounded in a well-researched reality.
We all remember the kid running for high school president, promising soda machines in the cafeteria. You’re not that kid. You’re the one who knows how money is allocated, and that a fruit smoothie machine is a better investment for student health, leading to better mental development, higher grades, more passing students and more money for the school for next year.
Your ideas have traction, and when you ground your ideas in real-life budget situations, you show how you’ll help grow the chapter without breaking the bank.
Shoot for the Moon . . . if Lunar Exploration Fits in the Budget
Just because you’re showing your sisters your financial management skills doesn’t mean your ideas have to be boring or predictable.
And just because the officer before you did it one way doesn’t mean you can’t flip the script and do something totally different.
Sure, there are certain constants with every position, certain guidelines and precedents. But if you weren’t supposed to get creative as an elected officer, they’d just have a robot do it.
Luckily, this isn’t the rise of the machines (that we know of). The human mind is still in charge of sorority life.
And we happen to know that you have a lot of great ideas. Don’t shy away from them.
Keep in mind that budgets change. Maybe you have a killer sorority rush one semester, which means more of that sweet, sweet membership dues money in the coffers. Maybe another officer completed a costly major chapter project, leaving an opening to fund some of your initiatives.
You never know. As long as they’re within reason, don’t hold back on big-time initiatives. They might be a huge hit with sisters that separate you from the other sisters running.
If your ideas are important enough to chapter growth, often times you can find room for them in the budget.
Whatever your officer election campaign ideas are, when you root them in the reality of sorority finances, sisters will find it easier to “buy in.”
If you’ve served as a chapter officer in the past, what lessons have you learned about financial management for your position? If you’re planning to run for the first time, what do you hope to learn? Let’s talk election night numbers in the comments below.