Money Management For Greeks: Chapter and Council Finances

Money Management For Greeks: Chapter and Council Finances

  • Why isn’t our Chapter on budget?
  • How do we get members to pay their dues?
  • When certain members don’t pay their dues, why don’t the paying members care more?
  • How do I handle the delicate balance of brotherhood/sisterhood and money?

As I travel the country working with Greek Organizations, I hear questions like these all the time. The problems vary, but there is one consistent flaw that runs through every Greek organization struggling with their finances. This flaw is the root cause of their difficulties.

That flaw is that the organization has a cultural problem. Money management is not respected by the culture. I see the proof of this in the Greek organizations that I come across which have no financial problems at all. It’s unheard of that a member would pay their dues late. It’s impossible they’d be over budget. It’s in their culture to manage their finances.

So if your organization is struggling financially, it’s best to start with the foundation, the culture. Here are some easy ways to create a culture of financial prosperity.

  • Have every member vote on the budget. Often Greeks will ask, where do my dues go? But sadly, they get only vague answers. “Insurance.” “The National Office.” Have everyone see the budget and allow people to offer their input. You’ll find members will begin respecting the budget, once they have the right to vote on it.
  • If someone needs to pay late, have them make this request to the entire Chapter not just the treasurer. The treasurer’s job is to manage funds, not serve as a collection agent. To assign that task solely to the treasurer is not only unfair; it’s destructive. When the treasurer excludes non-paying members from social activities, those members view the treasurer as the person ruining all the fun. And when the treasurer alone is not able to collect funds from everyone, the rest of the Chapter demands to know where the money is.  It’s a lose-lose scenario, and soon you’ll find no one in your organization wants to be treasurer.

Instead, before every meeting, have the treasurer prepare a list of all members who are behind on their payments. At the Chapter meeting, have those members stand up and publicly request an extension for their payment. You’ll start to see funds “magically” appear before the meetings.

  • Consider outsourcing your bill collections.  Companies such as Greek Bill can provide an easy solution to bill collecting. Rather than argue with a fellow brother or sister, a member is now forced to argue with a stranger on the phone, one who doesn’t take kindly to excuses.
  • Stick to your word. One problem I run into, I’ve nicknamed “The Sugar Momma.” It usually occurs when a fraternity and sorority are doing a joint event and the sorority puts down the initial deposit. When it is time for the fraternity to pay for their half, the funds trickle in slowly. Sometimes not at all. The sorority, already half invested in the event, covers the cost. Then it tries its best to get funds from the fraternity.  In short, the sorority becomes the “Sugar Momma” to the fraternity. (Yes, I have seen this happen the other way, but in my experience it is most common with the sorority being on the hook.)

In a case like this, it’s important to stay true to your culture. If your culture allows your organization to pay it’s fair share, then finance the other organization, this problem will only happen again. As outlandish as it sounds, the smart cultural move is to disinvite the other organization from the event, until they pay their freight. 

  • Establish a reserve fund: This may be the hardest sell of all, but it may also be the most important. Chapters disappear for many reasons, but a common one is lack of funds. A Chapter could be on disciplinary probation and unable to recruit new members or even collect dues from existing ones. Allocating a small amount of the budget to a reserve account will help you, and the brothers and sisters that come after you, to maintain the Chapter’s legacy. 
  • Commit to improving personal finances. Often when I run across a Chapter that is having financial problems, it’s because their members are having personal financial problems. Personal finances guide Chapter and Council finances. If the person isn’t financially strong, the Chapter and Council won’t be either.

Peter Bielagus is a brother in Phi Kappa Theta and a financial author and speaker who delivers over 60 presentations a year at colleges and universities around the country.  He can be reached at

Share this post:

Comments on "Money Management For Greeks: Chapter and Council Finances"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment