The Year End Summary is a document that gives every chapter a chance to report to the International Fraternity all of their accomplishments from throughout the year. This document is considered for International Awards at the Academy or Convention each year, including the Orians Excellence Awards and the coveted Smythe Awards. There is certain amount of framework and planning that has to be achieved on the front end to ensure a comprehensive final submission, and the International Fraternity has some tips to help you along the process:
- Meet the deadline! Applications are due on May 1st. Late submissions will not be considered for International Awards.
- Read and follow the entire Year End Summary directions.
- Be sure to have a realistic timeline of completion and delegate sections to appropriate officers and chairmen. If you spread out the work over a set number of weeks as well as officers and chairmen, completion of the Year End Summary will be much easier.
- Take pride in the chapter’s accomplishments and document all of the events and programs the chapter has participated during the year. Most common examples would be a one-page summary for all major events, an excel spreadsheet showing all community service hours and philanthropy dollars raised, and rankings for all applicable areas (i.e. athletics, recruitment, GPA, etc.). Everything should be documented.
- Answer the questions asked in the Year End Summary truthfully. Provide only relevant supporting documentation for the question that is posed.
- Fill in the entire Year End Summary.
Use a Team-Based Approach
The Year End Summary has four major sections: Membership, Operations, Brotherhood, and Leadership. Within each section committee chairman should provide inputs to the secretary to complete that overall section.
A sample deadline for completion is below:
March 1st: Application Open – notify executive board and committee chairman of submission requirements. Set a schedule, delegate tasks, establish a communication model and set internal deadlines.
April 1st: Follow up with executive board and individual committee chairman on status of submission requirements.
April 10th: Final submission by committee chairmen to executive board of requirements. Executive board review inputs for completeness and accuracy.
April 15th: Submit reports to Chapter President and Chapter Advisor for review.
April 20th: Latest recommended date for data input to online application.
April 30th: Latest recommend date for Chapter President and Chapter Advisor to certify Year End Summary completion.
May 1st: Online application closes at Midnight Pacific time.
Download the International Awards Overview Document to help with assigning reporting responsibilities.
Ineffective vs. Effective Documentation
The best way to think about documentation is in the context of transitions. One of the most consistent chapter issues I experienced during my travels as a consultant was a lack of programming continuity. Every time, this issue was a symptom of an absence of organizational methods, like a Google drive. Ideally, everyone in the chapter should be working to document everything so well that you could give your documentation to a group of men who have never been in a fraternity, and they should be able to run it just as efficiently. There’s no sense in reinventing the wheel every time the executive board and chair positions turn over. If the Year End Summary is the document that keeps your chapter on top of things, then that’s just an added benefit.
When it comes to the Year End Summary, the same mindset applies. Think of this document as a comprehensive snapshot of everything your chapter has done in the last year. Treat your documentation as if the International Awards Committee has no idea what your chapter is like, and that whatever you’re supporting your answers with has to paint a picture.
Keeping that approach in mind, it doesn’t do a chapter well to provide surface-level documentation. If the question is “Does your chapter host a recruitment retreat?”, and your answer is yes but the documentation is a quick word document with a few lines about the structure of a generic recruitment retreat, the International Awards Committee has nothing to work with. If you’re attaching International Fraternity resources like position handbooks, that doesn’t tell us anything about your chapter. It’s best to ask yourself if you’re truly telling the story about whatever event, program or project you’re talking about.
Alternatively, if we take the same question with an affirmative answer and attach supporting documentation that includes a recruitment retreat agenda, budget line items for the retreat in the Standard Budget and similar documents, it is more personalized and authentic. The documentation should include documents that are regularly in use by your chapter and specific to your chapter, not just written for the Year End Summary. You might have to get creative in some areas, but with the proper organizational processes in place, this process becomes easier and easier over time.
If your chapter struggles with the Year End Summary or would like to start submitting it annually, implementing measures for organization and documentation throughout the year coupled with the tips above will be a great start!
Jarrett M. WayDirector of Educational Content & Strategy