The advent of the Internet, and computers before that, may be one of the most revolutionary changes in the way human beings communicate. These changes are relatively new for fraternities, which have been present in the United States since the Phi Beta Kappa Society was formed at William and Mary in the late 1700s. Yet even computers the size of rooms weren’t created until the 1940s. The Internet itself, in its more recognizable form as the World Wide Web, didn’t reach America’s monitors until 1990. The medium has grown exponentially since then, mingling software and the connectivity of the Internet. As a result, some developers have created software specifically for use by fraternities. Fraternity software is that which aids brothers with streamlining communication, project coordination and management, finances and management of their chapters. This software can typically be accessed in app form on phones and tablets, as well as via larger programs and web portals on a computer.
From the humble beginnings of earlier generations of fraternities, brothers have gained access to social media, email, the blogosphere, cell phone apps, and software designed to engage fraternities with different methods to connect in the most efficient way possible, allowing them to bring their values and ability to recruit to the forefront. Yet, there are many options which fraternity chapters may utilize to best approach these goals of fostering a thriving brotherhood.
Cell phone and tablet apps come in many shapes and sizes, some with glowing reviews and streamlined, user-friendly functionality, while some are advertisement-laden, low quality, phone-freezing pieces of software your fraternity chapter may be best to avoid. The open market for app designers means a range of quality, though through the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, a healthy bit of research of user reviews and ratings should give you an idea of what apps best fit your purposes. Additionally, some apps are free, while others have either a one-time purchase cost or a subscription fee based on the services provided. When seeking out the best available phone and tablet software apps for your fraternity, there may be a cost involved. This also is because while there are many standalone apps out there, a fair share of the apps you’d be using for your chapter would be connected to larger web-based programs and networks of professionals, such as OmegaFi.
This leads us to the bigger picture:
Communication is an integral part of running a fraternity chapter efficiently and effectively. While it’s essential that chapter members are proactive about communicating day-to-day chapter goals and operations, there is software available which helps streamline and optimize this process. Fraternity communication software can help with a variety of tasks such as keeping parents and alumni up to date with the chapter’s events and fundraising efforts, distribute newsletters, and send reminder messages to a fraternity’s brothers about chapter business that pertains specifically to them, such as dues payments. Communication software can also be used to centralize chapter communication for specific events. For instance, GINSystem can be used for mass texting and an interactive calendar to plan and schedule intramural games, or to discuss other chapter business with a specific group of brothers. It can also be used for other purposes such as polling, attendance records, check-ins, and more. The ultimate purpose of fraternity communication software is to optimize a connection between chapter officers, brothers, alumni, parents and even a fraternity’s nationals.
Project coordination and management is a crucial component to the operational health of a fraternity chapter. Fraternity project coordination and management software is that which focuses on maximizing the potency of a chapter’s ability to effectively complete tasks and projects and reach target project deadlines. This fraternity software offers services such as real-time coordination between brothers on a variety of chapter projects online or via mobile devices. This software accentuates fraternity communication software by offering file sharing and editing via a shared, real-time platform between brothers such as with Google Drive. This software might also offer a digital project filing interface with the ability to upload and download documents and images, all while clearly delineating tasks to brothers with an easy to interpret organizational pattern, such as Trello. In addition to more traditional communications software, some fraternity project coordination and management software offers task-driven, professional group messaging services, such as Slack.
Perhaps one of the most useful software tools at a fraternity chapter’s disposal is financial software. Financial management can make or break a chapter, as effective dues collection and budgeting are necessary to fund a vast majority of a chapter’s operations throughout the semester. Financial fraternity software such as Vault might serve a number of vast functions relating to chapter finances, though largely these types of software would focus on budgeting, chapter dues collection and management, managing bank transactions, compiling and mailing statements, communicating with parents about their students’ financial standing, generating financial reports, and maintain a secure database for appropriate parties to access, send or accept payments when necessary.
Aside from the more rudimentary functions of basic finances and chapter communication, fraternity management software offers overarching functionality for the many issues a chapter must tackle. Fraternity management software might cover areas of chapter operations such as centralizing brother information in a membership database--which might also integrate communication (from email to video conferences and file sharing) and dues collection functions; collaborative software such as Trello for planning and executing events or chapter projects; or other project management software to delineate tasks to chapter officers and members.
These various types of fraternity software offer different functions based on a chapter’s needs and goals. Some offer very specific tools for, say, dues collection, management and budgeting for a chapter treasurer. Others are multifaceted programs that integrate communication, membership and alumni databases, as well as other aspects of a chapter’s operations in order to offer a broader and more centralized process. Some software may be offered in app form, specific to mobile and tablet devices on the go. Meanwhile, other software is more complex and will be utilized either from a computer program or some other entry hub such as a cloud network or webpage.
Regardless of what software is used, it is increasingly true that contemporary fraternity management requires the use of some software integration into their operations in order to ensure peak efficiency of the brotherhood.
Contact OmegaFi today to learn how adopting new fraternity software can improve your fraternity’s budgeting, membership intake, and other chapter management goals.