One of the great things about fraternity life is that brothers all have different interests, and they get to share those interests with each other. Some of them are drawn to science fiction movies. Some of them love to sit down with salty finger snacks and watch baseball late into the night. Others sign up for so many marathons that it seems they destroy a pair of running shoes at least once a month.
Those brothers are what we refer to as the “normal people.” Then you have the freaks of the fraternity world. Brothers so messed up and sick inside that they actually enjoy everyone around them making their lives harder, banging their heads on the desk and swimming upstream in the mud. Who are these fabled brothers who live in the darkness of their own tortured souls, who haven’t seen daylight in months? Who are these cave-dwelling ghouls?
We like to call them fraternity treasurers.
Joking aside, fraternity treasurers are most definitely a breed of their own. You have to have a thick skin and a laser focus. You have to be able to balance the budget perfectly and then watch your brothers ruin your hard work by making any excuse not to pay their fraternity membership dues on time. And you have to do it with a smile, every day of your term as fraternity treasurer.
Not a lot of people would voluntarily sign up for a gig like that, yet it’s one of the most important officer positions within a fraternity chapter. So kudos to you for picking up the mantle. Yet however hard the fraternity treasurer’s role is, it can always be harder when mistakes crop up.
One thing that makes being a fraternity treasurer a whole lot easier is learning on the job. Thus, consider OmegaFi your virtual tutors, because we’re about to drop some knowledge on you with our Fraternity Treasurer Crash Course.
Fraternity Treasurers Should Keep a Cool Head
We’re not going to lie. This is hard. Really hard. But at the end of the day, getting frustrated and angry at uncollected fraternity dues is going to make your life much harder, it’s going to exacerbate mistakes and get you nowhere fast.
The best approach is one of balance and consistency. Be transparent about the budget, keep records and remind brothers often about outstanding balances. You don’t have to be aggressive or belligerent about it. There’s likely already a procedure in place for you to follow in your chapter bylaws when dues aren’t paid on time. Take it step by step. Try to get brothers on payment plans when necessary, offer incentives for paying dues on time, and keep a paper trail to back you up and maintain consistency.
When incentives don’t work, you may have to enact certain punishments such as revoking privileges, imposing fines and possibly even putting brothers on inactive status until they settle their accounts.
When that doesn’t work, there comes a point where a brother may have to be removed from the chapter and his outstanding fraternity dues sent to collections. However, there will always be a small percentage of brothers sent to collections who still won’t pay, and you’ll end up having to write off these unpaid fraternity dues. This is not a failure on your part as a treasurer. You’ve taken every step you can to collect, and unfortunately a certain level of unpaid dues is a fact of life in a fraternity chapter.
If you can keep a cool head, it makes you more proficient, more able to communicate the financial obligations of brotherhood and less stressed out in general.
Fraternity Treasurers Should Ask for Help
This is something every fraternity treasurer should learn, yet not all treasurers seem to know how to take advantage of the support their fraternity chapter offers in performing their duties. The treasurer may be the boss when it comes to fraternity finances, but he’s not doing it alone.
Several brothers make up the finance committee that helps determine a chapter budget for the semester or year. Other chairmen should have at least some handle on what amount of money they’re going to need to perform their jobs. A fraternity treasurer shouldn’t feel burdened with spearheading every budgetary matter alone. Let everyone’s ideas be heard, and incorporate these ideas when your intuition tells you they make sense.
When you really need help, don’t be afraid to turn to the people above you in the pecking order. Talk to the president or vice president if you’re not sure how to handle a certain brother’s late dues excuses, or if someone’s trying to write off a huge dinner check and something seems fishy. Likely other executive officers will be involved in these kinds of tough situations, anyway.
Asking for help when you need it is a way to give a fraternity treasurer checks and balances he can rely on, and it makes a huge difference.
Fraternity Financial Software Is a Treasurer’s Life Raft
Sometimes running a fraternity chapter budget feels like you’re the captain of the Titanic and you can see the iceberg ahead. Your brothers try to help, but at the end of the day, you’re all going in the water if you don’t right your course and do it quick.
Think of fraternity financial software as a kind of GPS system to keep your chapter budget on track. While you’ll still have to be the one guiding your ship, fraternity financial software will offer you the tools you need to build and manage a chapter budget, collect payments online and track chapter finances, all with the help of financial experts.
So if you’re going to be a martyr and sacrifice your sleep to be a fraternity treasurer, be calm, collected and consistent. Ask for help when you need it, and use software to streamline chapter finances.
Now that you’ve taken our Fraternity Treasurer Crash Course, it’s time for student evaluations. Let us know what you think our little class is missing. Tell us what you think is essential to fraternity treasurers in the comments below!