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Dues are a facet of sorority life that all current members are familiar with on some level. Whether it’s making payments, creating and executing a chapter budget or a leadership perspective of the budget, dues are a vital part of operating any chapter. As a collegiate member, understanding chapter dues and fees serves many important purposes from effective recruitment to effective leadership.

Understanding Dues

Whether you are in a leadership position or not, it is important to engage critically with the fiscal aspect of sorority life. Asking questions like the ones below will allow you to understand your financial commitments better and ensure your chapter experience remains fulfilling and meaningful.

While it is not a requirement to be a financial expert, the sorority experience and the fiscal aspect of that experience provide members the opportunity to meaningfully engage with values-based budgeting and financial literacy prior to graduation. The budgeting process can help women increase their financial literacy and prepare them for life beyond their college experience.

Recruitment Transparency

Dues require careful consideration when a woman is interested in joining a sorority. While the recruitment process allows potential members to evaluate dues on a comparative level, it is important that current members are answering questions accurately with full transparency. Dues are a requirement of membership and women joining sororities should not feel as if they are in the dark about what it costs, where the funds go and how payments will be made. Ensuring that you and your chapter are properly educated on the budget, payment options and scholarship accessibility will improve membership retention following recruitment periods. Additionally, when members are well informed about dues, the chapter will be able to more effectively engage in critical discussion regarding budget planning.

Reviewing the Budget

Chapter leaders that create the budget will have the important task of evaluating chapter financial wants and needs. The budgeting process may look different from chapter to chapter, but there are important questions that should be considered.

To answer a few of the questions above, the chapter will need to evaluate their programming priorities as a group. Chapter priorities can shift and ensure that the current membership is paying for valuable and meaningful programming is the primary focus for any budget. If a chapter discussion highlights sisterhood activities as a priority, it may be worthwhile to shift funds from another lower priority budget into the sisterhood budget. If it has become clear in recent years that a fund is being underutilized, then perhaps that can be removed to reduce overall costs for chapter members. Budgets should be designed so that every line has a specific purpose, if there are areas where the funding is being spent simply because it exists and the purpose is unclear, then that budget should be reevaluated to ensure that chapter costs remain accessible and meaningful.

Dues and fees are a foundational aspect of sorority membership that ensure our organizations can continue to provide meaningful and fun opportunities that enrich the collegiate experience. Focusing on the values of the organization and practical applications of dues can ensure that they remain meaningful and do not become an unnecessary barrier to membership.

Written by Baelee Wehlburg

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