Thanks for the Dono!

Alpha Leadership, repeat after me:

“Thank you for your donation.”

Those five words will speak louder than you can imagine.  ‘How so?’ you ask.  Follow me…

In the beginning of August at the 170th Convention of Chi Psi, I had the privilege of co-facilitating the #4 sessions with Paul Braswell.  While enjoying Br. Braswell’s instruction from my seat in the auditorium, I had a realization.  “Alpha finance deserves more attention in the blog.”  Your wish is my command.

Do any of the following sound familiar?

– Our Alpha has trouble with officers going over budget.

– Officers spend money without first getting #4 approval.

– The #4 has a difficulty documenting outflows because of poor reimbursement practices.

If you cannot relate to this then please feel free to discontinue reading.  I know you all pretty well, though.  I know this is a problem.

Here are my top tips for a strong fall financial semester… including an explanation of those FAB 5 words.

1)  Get those invoices out.

NOW.  Actually, get them out three hours ago.  They should be gone.  Your Alpha’s first financial obligation comes due October 1st.  That means it needs to be paid by late September, which means you need to start collecting NOW!  That said, you can’t expect people to start paying when they haven’t been notified of their obligations.

2)  Put your money where your mouth is.

What are your biggest priorities this year?  Recruitment?  Academics?  Philanthropy?  Ok, great!  Then why are your largest budget allocations for Football Saturdays and Fall Formal?

I get it.  I really do.  Those things are fun and expected and keep Brothers happy.  That said, you’ve got to financially prioritize those items to which you pay lip service.  If recruitment is your biggest priority, allocate funds to that account first.  Trying to boost your Alpha’s academic performance?  Take that second slice and create a scholarship fund for the top academic performing Brothers… Even better, ask your alumni board to match your amount.

3)  Get the stamp of approval.

Alpha Budgets should be presented within the first three meetings of the school year.  Brothers should see and have a say regarding where their funds are going.  Put it to a vote, like you should.  Transparency creates buy-in.

Grand Finale Alert

So, you’ve followed the above three steps.  Your officers know how much money they have to work with.  They understand how much money they have to spend on various events.  They’re now acting upon their marching orders.


The social chairman comes back to the #4.  This scene plays out.

Social Chairman:  Hey #4.  Here are the receipts for the mixer we had last weekend.  I know we said I had $100 to spend on props and decorations, but it turns out that stuff was a little more expensive so I went ahead and bought it anyway.

(#4 takes receipts, looks through them)

#4:  You spent $160 dollars?  You had $100 to spend.  Not cool.

(#4 reaches for checkbook, sits down, and writes check for reimbursement.  Hands check to social chairman.)

Social Chairman:  This check is for $100.  I spent $160.  You owe me another 60 bucks, dude.

#4:  We agreed you had $100 to spend.  You went over.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATION!

(Social chairman storms out angrily.)

As an Alpha leader you have to hold your ground.  When people go over budget, write the check for the budgeted amount and then thank them for their donation.  Those were not funds they had permission to spend.

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