As chapter treasurer, you are charged with handling the business side of the fraternity. Accountability is the life blood of fraternity, and having the standards laid out and communicated is essential to maintaining good financial practices. When the governing documents are organized on the front end, every member can be held accountable.
An outline of the chapter’s policies may be included in the chapter bylaws or as an appendix to the bylaws. This practice ensures that the policies will be available to all members and their application will be consistent. The following is an example of a finance policy a chapter might place in its bylaws:
- Fines. Anyone who does not pay 100% of their required financial obligation by midnight on the due date or who has not requested and been granted a “special payment plan” pursuant to the Chapter Bylaws or Membership Agreement may be fined 10% of the delinquent balance, up to a maximum of one hundred dollars ($100.00), and is immediately suspended. Such members shall remain on suspension until their debts and fines have been paid in full, or be subject to expulsion.
- Judicial Board Fines and Reparations. All fines must be paid within fourteen (14) days. If the fine is not paid within fourteen (14) days, the initial fee will be doubled, and action may be taken to place the individual on suspension.
- Suspension. Any member suspended due to indebtedness may be prohibited from participating in any chapter activity, including, but not limited to: Chapter meal services/privileges, Chapter meetings (including voting privileges), participation in intramurals, attendance at social functions, wearing or displaying the Fraternity insignia, and otherwise identifying himself as a member of the Fraternity. Furthermore, any member who attends a social function while on suspension may be expelled from the Fraternity.
- Definition: suspension shall hereby be defined as “the denial for a definite period of the privileges and benefits of membership.”
- Any member on suspension may have a letter sent to his parents by the chapter treasurer and/or the alumni advisory board, itemizing all charges. In addition, anyone who “bounces” a check to the Chapter shall be suspended and fined ten dollars ($10.00) in addition to all costs associated with the “bounced” check, and is required to pay in cash for the remainder of the term.
- Expulsion. The Executive Council shall automatically initiate expulsion proceedings against all members who have financial obligations which are sixty (60) days past due. Said persons may be referred to a collection agency or small claims court as well as the International Fraternity. In order to be reinstated following expulsion due to indebtedness, the procedures outlined in the Fraternity’s Constitution and Chapter Codes must be followed.
Payment of Expenses
As a part of the responsible disbursement of funds, chapter financial policies should require two signatures for all checks. This offers some degree of checks and balances when distributing chapter funds. It may be that a chapter has three officers eligible to sign checks (treasurer, president, and assistant treasurer), enabling the chapter to authorize a valid disbursement even when one officer is unavailable.
When an officer or committee chairman requests funds, it is common to have the individual make the approved purchase, and reimburse the officer or chairman upon presentation of a receipt.
No blank checks should ever be handed out. When this is not possible, the individual may fill out a check requisition form, detailing the purpose and amount of the request. In such a case, after a check has been approved and given out, the officer/chairman is expected to present a receipt for the purchase before any further funds are released. Each request should be compared to the budget and the year-to-date total to verify funds are available for the desired purchase.
For help with structuring your chapters financial policies, or for more robust sample bylaws, contact or director of finance at email@example.com. You can also check out the treasurer handbook for more general information.
Jarrett M. Way
Director of Educational Content & Strategy