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Best Practices Library

Chapter Operations

Finances

CO1 - The chapter maintains financial records via weekly profit and loss statements through the Treasurer and an outside accountant. The Treasurer provides information to the accountant, and the accountant keeps records (in both electronic and hardcopy formats) and prepares financial statements. Everything is verified by the Alumni board and the chapter Treasurer.

CO2 - The chapter has the university collect all of their dues for the semester.  This is done at the beginning of the semester when they pay their tuition bill.  This has allowed for an almost 100% collection rate and has put the chapter in a position to keep to a set budget and alleviates most of the headaches for the Treasurer.

CO3 - The men bought a credit card machine to allow brothers to pay dues easier and help with what was a weak collections system. 

CO4 - The budget is created during the annual summer executive retreat.  The executive board and the necessary chair positions discuss the upcoming financial needs with our chapter alumni advisor.   After the schedule of all of the activities for the upcoming year is determined, we look at those events and also the chair needs and we take our expected income and then go through the process of analyzing and allotting our budget to each event and each chairs needs. We then reevaluate our budget process in our spring executive retreat, for that semester and alter it if any changes are necessary.

CO5 - The chapter utilizes a "collections" sub-committee to help collect chapter dues. 

CO6 - Due to a recent incident of financial embezzlement by a past Treasurer, the chapter has destroyed all of their debit cards and now utilizes only checks for purchases. For small/minor purchases when a check would not be appropriate the chapter utilizes a reimbursement system to still use checks to reimburse individual members for authorized expenditures.

CO7 - Chapter focused efforts on incorporating Google Wallet. This program requires two out of three individuals on the account to approve an expense in order for it to work. 

CO8 - Sample Budget Request Form 

CO9 - Sample Expense Reimbursement Form 1

CO10 - Sample Expense Reimbursement Form 2

CO11 - Sample Expense Reimbursement Form 3

Officers and Committee Systems

CO12 - The chapter has developed a unique way to implement a full committee system.  Members are asked to fill out a form indicating their top three (3) committee preferences.  The Lt. Commander takes these lists and holds a draft with the committee chairmen.  This is a good way to give committee chairman the power to form their own committees while also ensuring members are placed on committees they are interested in.

CO13 - The Lt. Commander meets with every committee chairman and officer every two weeks.  Committee goals and the progress on those goals are discussed.  If no progress is made, the chair is placed on a probationary status and must meet with the Lt. Commander the following week.  If still no progress is made, then the officer is removed from his position.

CO14 - The chapter has a committee called the Sigma Nu Committee (commonly known as Nu Comm.) that is responsible for event planning.  Instead of having specialized committees, this group plans all chapter activities (formals, socials, philanthropies, etc.).

CO15 - The chapter's executive board creates an ad hoc committee for every new idea, event, or project to be completed.  The executive board names a leader of the committee and assigns members to the committee to complete the task.  A timeline is set to give the chapter a proposal/outcome of what the committee finds.

CO16 - At the beginning of his term, the Lt. Commander puts together a list of all chapter committees including the name of each chairman, responsibility of each committee, Lt. Commander's primary goals for each committee and empty committee positions.  This list is passed around at chapter meeting to give members the opportunity to sit on various committees.  Each officer is required to sit on one (1) committee (if they are not already chairing one) and all members-at-large are required to sit on two (2) committees.

CO17 - The chapter uses an application system in order to appoint officers.  Each member interested in being appointed an officer is expected to submit a basic application and resume in order to be considered for appointment.  Members not appointed as officers are asked to sit on committees based on their interest in particular areas of chapter operations.

CO18 - The chapter holds a presidential debate prior to holding Commander elections.  Members are asked to submit questions to the current Commander and Lt. Commander to ask of the Commander nominees.  All nominees are able to answer every question and the Lt. Commander acts as the debate moderator.  The nominees are then asked to leave the room and each one returns individually to be asked more direct questions.  The entire chapter is encouraged to attend and only those members who attend the debate are allowed to vote for Commander.

CO19 - This chapter has two elected LEAD Chairman.  One is elected on the calendar year and the other is elected on the academic year so that there is always an experienced LEAD Chairman organizing events.

CO20 - Every week the Executive Board will invite one officer who is not on the Executive Board to attend a meeting. This officer sometimes has a particular purpose in giving a specific report or receiving a task from the board. Other times the member is just asked to attend so that he may become more familiar with Executive Board meetings and perhaps spark some interest to run for an officer in the next election

CO21 - The chapter Executive Board strives to be as transparent as possible and has an open door policy for members to come share their opinions/grievances.

CO22 - The chapter has organizes its Committees into different "Boards". Committees that work on similar tasks intertwine work to get the best ideas and more men to assist. For example, the "Development Board" is a combination of the LEAD Committee and the Marshal's Committee.

CO23 - The chapter elects a Commander-Elect in the fall who will officially take over the officer position at the end of the spring semester. The Commander-Elect has the spring semester to train for his position, attend College of Chapters, and shadow the current Commander before formally taking the role. 

CO24 - Chapter has all committees meet on one specific night each week. At that time, the Commander and Lt. Commander can be there to answer any questions and ensure goal setting is happening.

CO25 - Chapter has structured all committee meetings to take place on the same day, Sunday. This increases awareness of when meetings take place and streamlines the Lt. Commander's ability to receive a meeting report from each chairman.

CO26 - *NEW* The Chapter employs a chair/officer contract that specifies that each chair/officer will provide updates at various checkpoint dates during the year. The contract further dictates that the chair/officer will keep written documentation of his office for use on the PEP submission, thus ensuring that all documentation and entries are collected/finished well before the PEP submission date. The final requirement is that the chair/officer submit minutes for each meeting. Failure to meet any of these stipulations is grounds for removal from office.

CO27 - *NEW* The chapter uses a big screen television or projector and screen during chapter meetings as every officer speaks to include important points in officers reports for members to read. It is a nice recap for members to see the most important notes from officers while they deliver their reports. 

CO28 - *NEW* Certain officers in the chapter will hold office hours during the week for members to be able to discuss any issues that they would like to speak about with specific officers. This best practice empowers members to reach out to officers to speak on a one-on-one basis. 

CO29 - Sample Committee Structure and Meeting Schedule 1

CO30 - Sample Committee Structure and Meeting Schedule 2

CO31 - Sample Executive Board Evaluation 

CO32 - Sample Officer Application

CO33 - Sample Programming Board Governance Structure

Operations

CO34 - The chapter utilizes www.wiggio.com which provides various free chapter listserv functions.  The chapter utilizes www.constantcommunication.com for various alumni listserv functions.

CO35 - The chapter doesn't hold a vote in the meeting unless they have formally opened the chapter with Ritual. 

CO36- The chapter utilizes a payment plan for candidates and brothers, chapter members can set up a meeting with the treasurer who then works out a contract with the member to decide what the payment plan should look like. This payment plan can be in 2-4 payments a semester. This allows chapter members to fulfill their financial obligations to the chapter in an easier way. Missing payments implements 30-90 day policy being enacted. 

CO37 - Chapter prepares a PowerPoint presentation before every chapter meeting that assists the chapter in delivering meeting reports and information important to chapter business. 

CO38 - All of the Executive Board has binders they have to bring to each meeting with their manuals and information in there, the members have a different color binder that they must bring to all meetings which contains the bylaws, RRP&G, agendas, and blank pages. The candidates also have binders.

CO39 - The chapter keeps a Google calendar up on a TV in the common area that is a live feed.

CO40 - The chapter officers, in conjunction with alumni advisors, have developed a list of expectations for each officer. These expectations stem from the Officer Manuals on sigmanu.org, but also from functions specific to the chapter. 

CO41 - The chapter has a running ticker of all upcoming events on their website so members, alumni, and parents can keep up-to-date with chapter events. The chapter also has a members area on their website with bylaws and other chapter information all members can have access to. 

Organization

CO42 - The chapter utilizes www.tatango.com to notify members of upcoming events and/or important date changes immediately via text message.  This service allows for messages to be typed online and automatically sent to an established list of contacts.

CO43 - The chapter maintains an archive of chapter meeting minutes in the campus library.  The chapter also utilizes a monthly calendar of events that is distributed to all members on the first of each month.  The calendar includes committee meeting times, reminders, and other campus events.

CO44 - The chapter hangs a giant calendar in their meeting room.  It allows members to see what events are happening during the week from LEAD sessions to athletic events.

CO45 - Chapters utilize Google Calendar as a tool for members to organize and keep track of chapter events.  Google Drive is also utilized to post recruitment Master Prospect Lists.

CO46 - The chapter has utilized a cloud storage service (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) to maintain membership records such as minutes, community service hour tracking sheets and copies of the chapter Bylaws.  This allows members to quickly connect to these important resources. Some cloud storage services also offer a number of other helpful services such as live-editing for documents and the creation of forms and surveys. 

CO47 - Twice a year, the newly elected officers and alumni board come together for a goal review. It is the newly elected officer’s responsibility to prepare goals, action steps, and deadlines to bring to this meeting. Each officer presents his goals and then the alumni board provides ideas and critiques. 

CO48 - Chapters have an officer responsible for submission of the Pursuit of Excellence Program.  These officers and their committees also measure chapter progress towards the Excellence rating and are able to provide real time feedback.  In some cases this officer is also responsible for submitting documentation for the campus Chapter Expectations Program.

CO49 - The chapter uses Google Drive to assist with the chapter's submission of its Pursuit of Excellence self-assessment. The chapter has organized 10 subcategory folders for officers to use when compiling supporting documentation for the submission. This has made keeping track of documents a lot easier. A submission link can be sent to the pep@sigmanu.org inbox to grant access to the self-assessment. This streamlines the submission process and prevents having to send large documents over email.

Strategic Planning

CO50 - Throughout the year the chapter has Rock Talk meetings designed to discuss progress towards the Pursuit of Excellence Program submission.  Every Sunday, the Executive Board meets and decides what is going to be accomplished in the upcoming week regarding submission preparation.

CO51 - The chapter has a Progression Committee with the primary responsibility being the making of recommendations to the chapter for improvement in specific operational areas.  The committee makes recommendations based on Pursuit of Excellence Program criteria.

CO52 - The Lt. Commander, at the beginning of each semester, requests each member submit a list of specific goals that the member would like to see accomplished over the semester.  The Lt. Commander compiles all of these lists and puts together a document that outlines each member's goals.  The document is then printed, framed and hung in the chapter house living room.  Every week at chapter meeting, the Lt. Commander asks the members what, if any, goals they have accomplished over the previous week.  He then crosses off those goals on the master list as completed and hangs it back up in the living room.

CO53 - After determining chapter goals, members place these goals on large pieces of paper and display them in their dining hall.  This is done to always remind members where the chapter is heading.  It also provides a public forum to write progress reports or suggestions next to the goals throughout the year. 

CO54 - The chapter ends each semester with an Executive Retreat where operations are planned and discussed for the next semester. This includes all aspects of operations (Recruitment, social, alumni relations, candidate program, budget finances, brotherhood trips and events, philanthropy, community service, athletics, initiation, induction, candidate projects, study hall,  etc.). Dates are set on a chapter calendar that is posted on the bulletin and written plans are drawn up so there is enough time to successfully execute then.  At the first chapter meeting of every semester, the plans are discussed and voted upon. Any changes that need to be made are made and recorded. We follow a monthly schedule where we refer to the annual and semester plans to remind ourselves of our goals and plans at hand. Following the end of each month, the semester plan is referred to and edited for any changes. Notes are placed for what was successful and what needed improvement. This in turn will assist the next Executive Council and is discussed during Officer Transitions.

CO55 - Chapter compiles a powerpoint for the PEP strategy session and reviews the last PEP submission with the entire chapter, then discusses exactly what needs to be done to improve on next year's submission.

CO56 - *NEW* The chapter's Executive Board has created a detailed three-year strategic plan for the future of the chapter. The plan is divided into several sections with  goals and action plans on how to accomplish each.

CO57 - *NEW* The executive board uses the PEP Evaluation Guidelines rubric in the beginning of each officer term to set expectations for each officer's minimum standard. They use the "Very Good" rating as their accomplishment requirements.

CO58 - *NEW* To ensure we meet our goals the chapter has elected a new PEP Chairman position that is in opposite term of the Eminent Commander. The PEP Chairman term is throughout the academic year whereas the Eminent Commander term is from December to December. The PEP Chairman will ensure that the Eminent Commander and Executive Board are informed on important deadlines, goals, and areas of improvement identified in the previous year’s PEP evaluation feedback. The PEP Chairman will maintain PEP records and report directly to the executive board on the chapter’s progress toward its goals.

CO59 - Sample Strategic Plan

CO60 - Sample Strategic Planning Retreat Agenda  *NEW*

General Fraternity Resources

GFCO1 - Chapter Strategic Planning Template *NEW*

GFCO2 - Secret Thoughts of a Ritual - by Edward M. King *UPDATED*

GFCO3 - Committee Chairman Report Form *UPDATED*

GFCO4 - Habits of Successful Executive Committees *UPDATED*

GFCO5 - New Executive Committee Goal Setting *UPDATED*

GFCO6 - Officer Transition Checklist *UPDATED*

GFCO7 - Ten Commandments of Leadership *UPDATED*

GFCO8 - The Art of Delegating *UPDATED*

GFCO9 - Chapter Cash Management Tool

GFCO10 - Chapter Officer Budget Request Form

GFCO11 - Chapter Budget Template - Instructions

GFCO12 - Federal Tax and Form 990 Filing Guide *NEW*

GFCO13 - Sample Chapter Meeting Agenda *NEW*

GFCO14 - Sample Chapter Meeting Minutes *NEW*

GFCO15 - Sample Payment Plan Agreement *NEW*

GFCO16 - Officer Binder Checklist *NEW*


Call for Practices

If you have a great example or resource that you think should be included in the Best Practices Library, we want to know about it. Send your examples and resources via e-mail to Christopher Brenton, Associate Director of Leadership Development at christopher.brenton@sigmanu.org.

Additional Officer Resources

The perfect complement to the Best Practices Library is the specific chapter officer resources page. Here you can access additional resources and the chapter officer manual for each officer. Also be sure to check out the following pages on the Fraternity's service and philanthropy related resources: 

© 2015-2017 Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: 540.463.1869 | Fax: 540.463.1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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