Without effective communication, a fraternity chapter would cease to function. However, who’s in charge of what aspect of fraternity communication depends on a brother’s position within the fraternity chapter hierarchy. Top executive officers such as a fraternity president, vice president or treasurer may have an entirely different approach to communication than, say, a recruitment chairperson or a typical brother who doesn’t hold an officer position within his chapter.
Executive officers are in charge of chapter management communications, the treasurer and finance committee members must effectively communicate chapter finances, recruitment communications is the responsibility of the recruitment chair, and other officers must effectively communicate their goals and needs as well. For the good of the chapter, all brothers must take responsibility for fraternity communication.
Fraternity communication may seem at times like each brother is communicating independently in his own way, and at other times as if the fraternity is one big amalgam of communication. In reality it’s both. Effective fraternity communication can be chaotic, but it’s actually as intricate and organized as every other aspect of fraternity life. After all, communication is no less a part of a fraternity’s structural organization than recruitment, budgeting or anything else. Why wouldn’t it be pursued with the same rigor and discipline that fraternity men apply to other aspects of their thoughts, behavior and actions?
Each part of fraternity communication informs and relies on others. Each brother has a part to play. A successful fraternity chapter will inherently understand Who Is in Charge of Fraternity Communications. It is each brother, and it is all brothers, together.
Managing a fraternity chapter requires steadfast, clear and consistent communication by the chapter’s top executive officers, including the president, vice president and executive board in general.
Brothers will look especially to their fraternity chapter president as a leader and face of their organization. He should praise brothers’ accomplishments and speak with clarity regarding chapter bylaws, boundaries and discipline. He should be able to clearly delegate tasks to officers and brothers in support of chapter goals.
A fraternity president represents his chapter to potential new members, along with the recruitment chair. The president will also serve as a conduit of communication between the chapter and national advisors, alumni, the housing corporation and other partnering organizations. He attends the national organization’s conferences when necessary and communicates the fraternity’s values and goals to his chapter.
A fraternity vice president similarly has a responsibility in managing other officers and their committees, as well as executive meetings and filling in for the president as needed. These responsibilities require the VP to communicate effectively. Brothers look to leading executive officers to exercise leadership and maintain structure and discipline for the chapter.
Financial management and communication is the responsibility of the fraternity treasurer, who must prepare and manage the chapter budget and collect membership dues. A huge part of financial management is communication. A treasurer must provide brothers with a transparent understanding of the budget, what they owe in membership dues and what their options are in terms of payment plans, scholarships and discounts. Each chairman must understand the financial limits of his office within the budget the treasurer and finance committee set.
All other officers play a part in fraternity communication as well. For instance, the recruitment chair must be a master of communication when it comes to discerning through initial conversations which potential new members might be a good fit for the chapter. He must act as gatekeeper of the chapter’s values and communicate those values to potential brothers so that they understand if the chapter is a good fit for them as well. Along the same vein, a pledge trainer must be able to instill chapter values during the pledge process and ultimately prepare PNMs for initiation and brotherhood. A risk management officer must be very clear, direct and consistent about health and safety risks and disciplinary measures for risky behavior.
Non-officer brothers must do their part to communicate their needs, goals and struggles as well, so that the chapter can work together in harmony.
Because of its potential to have a massive impact on alumni relationships and fundraising efforts, chapters would do well to emphasize alumni communications. It is in large part the job of the alumni engagement officer to ensure a healthy relationship with previous generations of brothers. Yet when all is said and done, every brother in the chapter must work to engage and foster relationships with alumni.
While there are many methods of communicating with alumni, including in-person visits and invitations to chapter events, electronic communication and so forth, one major underutilized tool is a chapter newsletter that focuses on alumni. A well-composed chapter newsletter geared toward alumni interests, accomplishments and contributions can give brothers and alumni a baseline of communication. Plus, when the time comes to ask for contributions, alumni will know you appreciate their efforts on the chapter’s behalf.
Beyond alumni engagement, a fraternity may wish to communicate with other college Greeks with software, by meeting in person to collaborate on projects or simply to be social and form bonds.
In order to gain new members and establish a presence on their campus and in their community, a fraternity chapter must also effectively communicate by marketing itself to the world beyond the walls of their house. This is often done extensively during recruitment and philanthropy projects when brothers go out and meet people with common goals and values. This type of communication can be achieved online with a website that includes easy-to-find contact info. A fraternity chapter should have a strong social media presence as well.
Fraternity executives, officers and brothers form the baseline of communication necessary for successful chapter management. The chapter must also communicate with national advisors, alumni and others in a way that portrays their values and establishes a positive presence on their campus and in their communities. Communication is the responsibility of every fraternity brother.
Fraternity communication is important to us here at OmegaFi. Our software helps build a clear, centralized chapter budget that is key to how brothers communicate about their finances. We’d love to talk more with you about how our services can help.