So you want to become a treasurer. Well, young padawan, your journey to financial greatness is just beginning. There are two paths you can take as you become the master of your chapter’s treasury: One, you pursue the noble responsibility of great power and wisdom, and follow the light side. Two, you squander money, budget irresponsibly, and save nothing by following the dark side. Sure, the dark side looks fun in Star Wars, with cool red lightsabers and getting called Darth this or that. Still, when it comes to chapter budgeting, it’s a surefire path to disaster. Think about it--how did Vader end up? Uh-huh. And what about Maul? How about Emperor Palpatine? Pro-tip: They’re dead.
So yeah, the dark side of anything is cool in the short run, but a terrible idea in the long run. Consequently, that’s exactly the crux of budgeting--you’re looking for long-term solutions to your chapter’s treasury woes. Thus, if you’re going for the whole Jedi side of things, it’s important to study your craft, how to use “the force,” of course, aka the prowess of the penny pincher. If you’re seriously force-attuned, you’re already familiar with OmegaFi’s Vault, which will help you out tremendously when it comes to the ins and outs of your budgeting. However, as much as programs like Vault can help accentuate and streamline the process, ultimately you’re also going to be growing as a chapter officer and realizing the full value of your powers. And with power, of course, comes responsibility. Thus, we at OmegaFi would like to share with you our Top 3 Treasurer Responsibilities.
Do Due(s) Diligence
If you’re having trouble with the whole dues collection thing, we at OmegaFi would like to remind you that we’ve offered some useful tips on getting members to pay up in the past. And by now you’re probably an expert in this arena--which is great. Why? Because it’s definitely one of the top responsibilities a treasurer has. The problem with budgeting is that it requires capital. Where do you get said capital? In Greek organizations, it’s more or less a closed loop between membership dues and everything your chapter wants to pay for during the semester and beyond. Sure, there are donations sometimes from alumnus, and you might raise some money in different ways during the school year, but certainly from a business perspective you can understand why it’s a bonehead move to rely on those things as reliable income. You want to pull off the freaking Catalina Wine Mixer, helicopters and ice sculptures and all? Well, it’s the freaking Catalina Wine Mixer. You’ll need to be persuasive with chapter members with this responsibility. Whether on a payment plan or other method, remember it’s up to you to keep tabs on who has outstanding dues, and jedi-mind-trick the cash into the treasury. This may mean members don’t get to participate in events when they don’t pay, or if they continue to hold outstanding debts, then yes, sending them to collections is a potential option. Although hopefully it doesn’t get to that, the point is that dues are serious business as a treasurer’s responsibility, and you need to exercise due diligence.
Save, Save, Save
This can require some ingenuity and careful planning on the treasurer’s part, but we can’t stress enough that savings can make or break a chapter in tough times. For small chapters or those already hurting for cash, this may seem an impossible task. Yet it’s important to try, even if you have to take a visit to a financial planner’s office to learn some savvy saving techniques. The key idea is that every little bit counts. Yes, the chapter has specific events it is planning for the semester, but certainly there are ways to find affordable methods to reach similar goals. For example, let’s say you want to have that Catalina Wine Mixer. Do you really need the helicopters, though? Yes! That’s the whole point! Okay, fine, fine. But do you also need the ice sculpture? Well, no, I guess not. Savings probably won’t be that comically pronounced, but they’ll add up if you stick to this plan. Sure, your chapter will moan and groan now, if they perceive certain solutions to be a bit cheap (plastic utensils, seriously?), but in future semesters you’ll be heralded as a heroine or hero. Part of saving is also deciding if, in dire situations, certain events or expenses need to be cut in order to save up and do it bigger next semester. As treasurer, it’s your responsibility to help keep the chapter afloat financially, by whatever means possible.
It’s Not Your Responsibility
This is the number one responsibility, as paradoxical as it sounds. What we mean is, don’t take it all on yourself. Don’t go lone wolf and feel like you have to solve every single monetary issue the chapter faces. Not only will that be a huge burden on you as a member (not to mention as a student with academic responsibilities), it isn’t smart. You may end up in more trouble by thinking about these issues in a solo frame of mind. Talk to your president and other chair members, as well as other sisters and brothers as necessary. Talk to members who are studying accounting or business. Talk to alumni if need be (although be respectful of their time and input, if they’re able or willing to help). Draw up a budget that compromises with the needs of the various chapter members’ goals, and make sure all members have access to the budget in a transparent manner. Again, these are all things you may have heard before, but they definitely bear repeating. You’re not in this alone, and reminding you of that is our responsibility.
The moral of the story is: You can do this, young padawan. It’s challenging, but it’s definitely not impossible with the right tools and strategies. Just remember that dues oil the gears, savings keep them running, and that the chapter is the machine where all parts must function in unison--like a droid--or--whatever. Sorry. We had to squeeze one more Star Wars reference in there.
Did we get it right? Are there some treasurer responsibilities you feel are even more pressing than these? Let us know in the comments below!