Greek Tech – FutureTweets

In a previous post, I talked about the benefits of your chapter having a presence on Twitter. In addition to the basic website interface, there are a multitude of ways you can expand Twitter’s usefulness, and make it work for your chapter. I would like to share with you my current favorite add-on for Twitter: FutureTweets.

FutureTweets allows you to schedule your tweets ahead of time, automatically tweeting for you. There are a number of other websites and applications that can do this for you as well, but I have found FutureTweets to be the most user friendly.

Scheduling your tweets ahead of times is great for those such as myself who suffer from occasional forgetfulness. It will allow your chapter to appear to be always “on the ball”, even though that may not be the case.

So what can I use this for anyway?

– Schedule a tweet celebrating the local and/or national founding date of every chapter on your campus.

– Schedule a tweet celebrating the birthdays of your members (remember to include their Twitter username if they have one).

– Do your chapter/e-board/committee meetings tend to move around a lot? Schedule a reminder of the meeting times and locations for every meeting this semester.

– Use it to promote your events. Schedule a couple tweets a day leading up to the event with event details, and a link to more information about it.

– Schedule tweets for important holidays. You probably won’t be thinking about tweeting on the holidays, but it’s nice for your chapter to send out a nice tweet celebrating the holiday.

A word of warning: According to their website, Futuretweets will take a break on June 30th for an “unknown period of time”. For security and brand preservation reasons, Twitter is abandoning the old API’s basic authentication methods in favor of oAuth. This doesn’t concern me much, as I’m sure FutureTweets will update accordingly; but you may be without the service for a short period of time.

Do you have a favorite Twitter tweak? Share it in the comments section.

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The 6 Commandments of Fraternity & Sorority Life

Inspired by the stand-up of the late George Carlin, in which he simplifies the 10 Commandments, I decided to take some time of my own to simplify everything we are doing as fraternity and sorority members into a brief list that anyone should be able to understand.

(In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the bit – warning, language is definitely NSFW)

And so, without further delay, I present to you my
6 Commandments of Fraternity and Sorority Life

Thou Shalt Make a Life-Long Commitment
Joining our organizations means that you are committing to a life-long membership in a remarkable organization. This means you’re not allowed to go into hiding during your senior year, or graduate never to be seen or heard from your organization again. This means being a good alumnus/alumna, giving back to your chapter, staying financial, and forever holding true the the values you accepted in Commandment 2.

Thou Shalt Hold Yourself and Other True to Your Oath
At some point, we all took some sort of an oath to hold true to the values of our organization. Most likely, you were kneeling down, maybe with your hand in the air, on a book, or over your heart. That commitment isn’t just something we do for ritual when we cross or get initiated; it is your personal commitment to yourself and the organization. If you can’t rememeber exactly what it was you committed to, go back and read your ritual book. Of equal importance, you need to hold your brothers/sisters accountable to this commitment; feel free to remind them of the oath they took whenever you see them behaving “questionably”.

Thou Shalt Work to Understand the National Organization
The true value and significance of your fraternity or sorority isn’t truly understood until you get outside the walls of your own chapter. Attend a local/regional/national meeting, visit another chapter, apply to serve as an undergraduate representative or summer intern. When you get a visit from a consultant, truly work with your consultants to understand the structure and current state of your organization. Finally, if you truly want to understand what it means to be a fraternity or sorority member, attend an interfraternal event such as UIFI or AFLV.

You are absolutely no help to your chapter if you fail out of school; remember that you are a student first. One of the best things our organizations have in place are the programs and services designed to improve the scholastic efforts of our members. Let’s assume for a minute that your chapter embraces this value and has a chapter GPA above the all men’s/women’s average at your school. How great does it feel to be able to tell prospective members, parents, and Greek haters that statistically speaking, your chapter is academically outperforming the rest of the student body?

Thou Shalt Serve
All of our organizations emphasize service as an essential value that is core to the development of our members, and the betterment of our communities. You can check out my last post, “Life Changing Philanthropy“, for some tips on improving your philanthropic and service endeavors.

Thou Shalt Represent Every Fraternity and Sorority Member
To the general unaffiliated public, there is no difference between the letters on your chest, and those on mine. When you or your chapter screws up and ends up on the nightly news or campus newspaper, it hurts your schools entire fraternity and sorority community, as well as the international fraternity and sorority movement. Every single fraternity or sorority member carries this tremendous burden, understand this fact, and ensure that you are doing your best to represent all of us.

Do you have your own suggestions for additional commandments? Make sure to leave a comment!

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Life Changing Philanthropy

This week, I was able to attend the Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors Michigan Drive-In Conference. A hot topic of discussion centered around the value of service learning within our fraternity and sorority community. This discussion got me thinking of how we can be more intentional with our philanthropic endeavors in order to equally impact both the organizations we are supporting and our members.

Philanthropy is something that we, as fraternity and sorority members, take great pride in. We see the value in supporting organizations that work for the betterment of life and society. In addition to the amazing monetary contributions of our fraternity and sorority communities, the opportunity exists for our members to have a truly life changing experience while doing philanthropy work.

I can look back to my own life changing moment when I was a freshman, and new member in my chapter. While working with the Easter Seals of Central Pennsylvania, I was able to meet an amazing girl named Lyndsey. Despite undergoing chemotherapy treatment, Lyndsey and her family came out to support our community during our Bounce Marathon fund raising event. Seeing her strength and her commitment to the initiatives of Easter Seals made me want to work even harder to raise funds for the organization. As a result of that experience, I devoted the remainder of my undergraduate experience, as well as my professional career to encouraging other fraternity and sorority members to partake in a similar experience.

Understanding the value of this type of experience for our members, here are some things that your organization can do to make your philanthropic efforts truly life changing moments in your members lives:

Plan Wisely
Identify an organization that has a connection to your members or your organization (this may have already been done for you by you national headquarters already). That connection will encourage participation amongst your members. If your members can relate to the cause, they will be far more likely to devote their time and energy, as well as to educate others and advocate for the organization.

If you already have a philanthropic organization designated by your national headquarters, and your not sure why, feel free to give them a call and ask why they chose that organization.

Meet With The Organization
During the planning stage of your event, take the time to meet with the individuals and/or organization that you will be supporting. Identify exactly why it is that they need your support, and figure out how you can best do so. Bring as many members as possible to this meeting, this message needs to permeate your chapter.

Educate Your Members
Before the event, take the time to explain to your members why this philanthropic endeavor was chosen by the organization, and the impact that will be made as a result of their efforts. Ask for a representative(s) from you chosen organization to come to your chapter meeting, or host a specific event just for them. Allow them to explain to your members the benefits and value of their work. Putting a name and face on the organization will have a tremendous impact on your members willingness to support them.

Work WITH The Organization
Keep a close connection with the organization. Give them a seat at the table when your planning the event. Ask them to be present at your event as a means to motivate members as well as those who you wish to donate. You may be surprised at how willing an organization can be to support your efforts. Creating this positive relationship will make things much easier in the future.

Celebrate Your Success
The worst thing you can do after a philanthropy event is to announce how much money you raised at chapter meeting, and never speak of it again. Whether it is on site at your event, or a later date, take the time to recognize the hard work of your members, and the impact that you have made. This can take several forms but should make a point to differentiate this program from any other event that your organization participates in.

Take these steps, and hopefully you will turn your arduous fundraiser into a truly impactful, and potentially life changing experience for your members. Do you have a similar experience, or have ideas to improve philanthropy events, make sure to share them here.

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