I am the philanthropy and service chair for my fraternity. Recently I proposed a great idea during a meeting for our spring philanthropy event. I had a great plan laid out, with an operations outline, budget and marketing ideas. It was going to be an event that got the Greek and campus communities to come together.
Another brother in the chapter, proposed another event that would require half the planning, draw about a quarter of the crowd and fail to generate any significant monetary gains for our philanthropy.
For some reason, everyone in the chapter is more excited about his event than the one that can really make our chapter look good, do good and benefit the most people. What can I do to persuade my chapter against this lesser event?
There is an old strategy about making proposals at meetings. Never ask a question in a meeting when you don’t already know the answer to it.
In your example you made a proposal to the chapter. It could have been a very solid idea, but you didn’t sell it hard enough before the meeting. And now you are stuck in a position where you only have two options:
Option 1 – You can still try to force the brotherhood to have your event by sabotaging your brother’s event. You do this by trying to manipulate as many brothers as possible behind the scenes to get support. Dog his idea every chance you get and don’t help him at all. Obviously, this will rub a lot of brothers the wrong way but who cares? You will eventually get what you want.
Option 2 – You can take the high road and support his event the best you can with a great attitude. The next time your chapter has a philanthropy you can pitch your idea a little smarter. You do that by talking to as many brothers as possible before you pitch the idea at the chapter meeting. You can get their input and advice on how to make the event even better than you imagine. If you do that, it won’t take long before the other brothers are excited about the event. Even more important, they will have ownership in your idea because they will have been part of developing it.
You do what you gotta do, but I suggest you go for option 2. You made your pitch and it didn’t work out. That sucks but that is life. Be a team player and chances are you will get your chance in the future.
A final thought – this is a great learning experience for you as a fraternity leader. Instead of being pissed about what happened, try to understand it a little better. Why did his idea get more support than yours? There has to be a reason. Does the other brother have more influence than you do in the chapter? If so, it may be a good idea to try to win him to your side to help pitch your idea in the future. Did your idea require more work for the brothers (albeit with more gain)? If so, maybe the brothers just didn’t want to put in the effort your idea required? Are there other factors in play?
Figuring out these important details is critical for motivating a chapter. You need to figure out what makes your brotherhood take action. Find out what makes them tick will make you a better fraternity leader and chapter president.
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