I’m the deputy social chair of my frat, and I take it seriously. Not too seriously, since, hey, I’m the guy who plans the fun! But I still want to do a good job, since the other guys are my friends and my brothers. Our social events are a big part of how the university community sees us. Unfortunately, the current social chair just isn’t stepping up to the plate. He just isn’t doing the job this year, and the frat’s image has suffered.
Things got worse during pledge week. We were supposed to get the pledges to volunteer to clean up at a local park, and but he forgot to put in on the schedule. The night before, when I mentioned it, he suddenly remembered, and we ended up taking way fewer people than we promised the park we would show up with, and they were pretty angry. Not a good look. Next year I’ll be social chair. What are some things I can do to make sure my frat is back on top?
Planning social events is hard, to be sure. People are a challenge to wrangle together, even people committed to an organization the way frat brothers are committed to a fraternity. Your job is going to be a difficult one, on top of being an important one. The Fraternity Advisor calls the social chair “the second most important position in a fraternity.”
In a situation like this, you might be tempted to hold different types of events or be less ambitious. When you think about it, the problem isn’t the type of events that your frat has been holding. Key to planning successful events is open and clear communication. That, in our view, is what is lacking here. Take the example of your social chair’s park-cleaning flub: He didn’t communicate to the frat what was going on, and so you never gathered together the big crew your promised the park you would show up with. From the tone of your email it seems like communication has been a major issue throughout his tenure as the social chair.
According to the Management Study Guide, good communication not only informs and clarifies what has to be done, but also motivates people to do it. How motivated were the other brothers to go clean a park when they were told at the last minute that it was what they were expected to do? You need systems in place to ensure that people know exactly what is going on.
How do you coordinate everything among everybody though, especially people as busy as we’re sure your brothers are? First, a paper calendar is probably your friend. Not only should you schedule events in advance, but you should also pre-plan a regular series of reminders before and after big events. For these purposes, we recommend co-opting a scalable marketing solution like business texting software (because who looks at their email any more?). A platform like this can help you push out notifications to dozens of phones at once, which will let you send out reminders according to your schedule. A platform like this can then convert broadcasts to one-on-one conversations if anybody has questions.
Finally, a predefined schedule can help you set dates to buy food and drink, send out invites to other frats and sororities, and book DJs. Do those sound like the elements of a great event? They get better when they are planned ahead of time. With more time, you can do more ambitious projects, and ambitious projects, successfully executed, will get more people to buy in. Finally, remember to be flexible. Things will change at the last minute, no matter how meticulously you have planned everything. You just have to roll with the punches. But with these systems in place, and with the support of your other brothers, your frat, under your leadership as social chair, will be back and better than ever.