Dear fraternity treasurer: What if we told you that your chapter is the ultimate dynasty team?
Over the years, you’ve racked up Greek Week laurels like they’re championship rings. Every year you think your guys are the pinnacle of chapter greatness, only to be outdone the next semester by new men who build on your accomplishments.
As a treasurer, you’re an X’s and O’s brother. You run the numbers. You set up the plays. Then you send your team onto the field to do their thing.
Dynasty is as important to a treasurer as to any other brother.
You’re inheriting someone else’s budget, someone else’s deficit or savings, someone else’s record keeping, and someone else’s good—or terrible—precedent.
If a past treasurer did well, his efficiency will carry over, and your job will be easier. If he didn’t do so well, getting the coffers into good shape may take some work.
Yet treasurers are rarely all good or all bad. Their terms are often a mix of successes and mistakes.
If you want to be truly successful at managing your chapter’s finances, you must learn from both.
To do that, you’ll have to connect with past financial officers and figure out what works (and doesn’t) for you.
OmegaFi can help. Let’s talk about How to Interact with Past Fraternity Treasurers, and Why You Should.
Balancing the Budget with Past Chapter Treasurers
When you’re elected treasurer and go through your new officer training period, you quickly learn that you’re not starting with a blank ledger.
The chapter’s budget history weighs heavily on you.
To live up to this burden, you should try to understand the decisions of past treasurers, especially the one you’re replacing.
Of course, you’re going to work closely with your predecessor, observing and learning, and you should ask plenty of questions. However, don’t mistakenly think your training ends when the previous treasurer steps aside.
Your journey to becoming a better chapter treasurer is just beginning.
You may think you need to cram as much budgeting knowledge as possible during your weeks of new officer training, and then immediately nail your role without a single misstep.
We’re here to tell you that when you leave no room for growth, you’re inviting disaster.
Establish a relationship with the previous treasurer, asking for help, clarification, or advice when you need to. But respect his boundaries, and don’t overwhelm him.
Give the sage ex-treasurer a break occasionally. Seek guidance from other executives too. Rely on them to help you set the budget, take their advice seriously, and keep an open line of communication with officers and committee members about their financial needs.
Once the budget’s set, if you need chapter leaders to advise you, talk to your vice president first.
If he can’t help, then you can ask your president. That way your chief executive officer only needs to handle the truly important issues.
It’s important to rely on your own instinct. At the end of the day, you can’t avoid making a mistake or two. But you must trust your vision and your ability to balance the books.
Blast from the Past: What Alumni Treasurers Can Teach You
It can be truly beneficial to talk with past chapter treasurers who’re now alumni.
An alumni treasurer:
Has a removed, mature perspective on chapter needs and expectations.
Has insight into a time when the chapter was different.
Can guide you clearly on what works and what doesn’t.
May currently serve as an alumni board treasurer.
Understands the national fraternity’s expectations for chapter management and growth.
May work in a related profession, such as accounting or finance.
Has an advisor’s point of view, with the chapter’s best interest at heart.
Coordinating schedules with busy alumni may take some doing, but it’s well worth the effort. If they’re local, invite them to lunch and pick their brain.
For long-distance alumni, take the time to make a phone call. No texts or social media private messages.
Alumni appreciate receiving a call from the chapter, and it encourages them to engage more often.
You should be able to figure out most technical problems from your chapter’s officer guidelines and from other executive officers, so make your conversation with alumni about the broader picture.
What did they learn during their time as treasurer?
What do they wish they’d known then that they know now? What would they have done differently?
What worked, and what didn’t?
How did serving as treasurer guide them as men?
What are their fondest memories of their time in the chapter?
You’ll be amazed at how much perspective you can gain by simply starting a conversation with your chapter alumni. Just be sure to thank them for their time and insight, and walk away proud that you learned something valuable.
Do the Math: Your Impact on Future Treasurers
At the end of the day, you’re the treasurer.
You shadowed, trained, asked questions, made mistakes, and grew stronger, better, and more efficient as a result.
At some point, you’ll look back and realize that you’ve done all the same things as past treasurers.
You took your fraternity treasurer crash course and survived. It all seemed so overwhelming at first, didn’t it? Now it’s second nature.
Congrats. You've transitions from the student to the master.
Now it's your turn to pass on what you've learned.
Think of the lessons that benefited you, both from those around you and from your own decisions.
Incorporate your experiences into how you train the next treasurer. Be candid about what you got out of your term. He’ll seem so young and green to you, but you must remember that you were once in his shoes.
He’s about to embark an exciting journey, and you’re going to see him off.
If you have questions or comments about interacting with past treasurers, or becoming a budgeting guru yourself, let us know in the comments below!
OmegaFi offers budgeting software solutions and expert financial assistance for fraternity chapters, as well as solutions for various other challenges brothers face every day. Here’s how we can help.