Resources for Virtual Chapter Management
Updated as of 9/24/2020
This time requires flexibility and agility from all of us (chapters, advisors, councils, FSL staff). In order to adjust and help chapter’s and council’s get more creative with virtual operations, FSL has compiled the following resources for online learning and engagement. Now more than ever, it is important to lead with empathy.
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the leader adjusts the sails.” – John C. Maxwell
- All UCF staff and student have access to Zoom and can host free, secure meetings through this platform. Please visit UCF’s website for support with enabling your Zoom account.
- Zoom is a great option for live, real-time meetings, workshops, and presentations.
- You also have the option to record a Zoom video for future use or to share with members who miss the live session.
- Google Hangouts
- Work with your advisor(s), headquarters or regional team, council advisor, and/or chapter coach when appropriate to ensure that official updates and communication are vetted and appropriate.
- Use preexisting forms of chapter communication (GroupMe, Facebook, email, Omega One, etc.) whenever possible to make the communication as seamless as possible.
- It’s okay to say that you don’t know an answer. It is better to say you don’t know yet than to communicate information you may have to rescind.
- Consider free software that can help manage segmented communication. For example, Mailchimp can help you create specific communication to various groups (parents/families, chapter members, executive board members, advisors, etc.). Their free version allows you to create email templates and see who has opened your email and even clicked on the links you are providing.
- If you want to create graphically stimulating content, Canva.com or even Gimp.org feature free graphic design software with templates to create your next masterpiece to share through social media.
Chapter and Council Management
- Keep up to date with your national organization’s expectations of the chapter/ umbrella organization’s expectations of the council. These may be shifting rapidly, but be sure to keep your chapter in good standing.
- Consider hosting virtual chapter/general body meetings throughout this time to have members connect with each other. Remember all of us joined our chapters for human connection. It is even more important in this time to continue to encourage positive connection through strong meetings/programming.
- Should the chapter or council need to conduct a vote for business, consider compiling the information to be voted on and send to all voting members prior to the vote being conducted. Give members ample time to review the information you are sending over, preferably longer than 48 – 72 hours. Your chapter or council constitution & bylaws might already have a “reading” or “reviewing” period before votes or constitutional amendments can take place. Make sure to review those and stick to those even throughout this virtual period. You should ratify these votes at your next in-person chapter meeting in the fall.
- Update all chapter websites and social media platforms to reflect the current chapter life. Incoming students, prospective students, and family members are looking at your websites and social media platforms to understand whether or not they are interested in joining your organization. Most websites are outdated and present very little information to the prospective member. Consider giving visitors to your website a better idea of what your organization values.
Project Management Tools
These project management tools help team organize projects, collaborate, and track progress.
- Microsoft Teams
Short Term (next two weeks):
- Review/reevaluate officer goals for term
- Are they still relevant? Are they manageable? How can you adjust?
- Review governing documents
- Use this time to review bylaws and other documents. You can use Zoom to hold a bylaws review committee meeting.
- Chapter/community data collection
- Don’t forget to complete reports from your Headquarters or umbrella organization.
- Do you do Member of the Week on Instagram? Keep that up!
- Were you planning to give out awards at your last chapter meeting or at a formal? How can you adjust your process so you can still recognize these members?
- How can you begin honoring graduating seniors?
Long Term (next couple months):
- Planning/budget for fall
- This may feel hard because of current situation, but it’s a good time to prioritize where money will go and to set contingency plans.
- Summer/fall recruitment
- Summer orientation: FSL will hold virtual “tabling” sessions for students attending orientation, all of which will be virtual for 2020
- Communication with incoming students and families
- How do we create interest in joining?
- How do we assess our current recruitment/intake practices and better shift towards something more relevant, given the potential longer-term impacts?
- Fall retreat/reconnection
- Plan a meaningful reconnection event for fall, since it will have been an extended period of time since everyone from the council/chapter has been together.
- Officer recruitment/elections
- It’s never too early to start thinking and planning for this.
- Now is the time to begin planning for fall recruitment/intake. Though many things are still unknown, you can use the summer to plan for multiple scenarios that could play out come Fall 2020 semester.
- What scenarios should we be anticipating?
- School is 100% online in the fall.
- Gradual return to campus, as people feel healthy and safe to do so.
- Social distancing continues on campus.
- We all return to campus, but things just feel
- This is the time to get creative. How are you making sure your chapter and your council will be ready to adapt? Are you ready to prove the value of fraternity and sorority and the personal connection we provide during this time of physical distancing?
- Shift the focus of your social media to potential members, as opposed to only on your own members/community.
- Host Instagram Live sessions to answer questions that potential members may have.
- Post polls and questions to hear from potential members about what they’d like to see from you.
- Start a registration process or names list for your chapter or council.
- The sooner you get the contact information from potentially interested students, the sooner you can start pushing information out to them directly via email and/or phone.
- This way you also have a way to directly contact them should there be changes to the way recruitment turns out.
- Watch these videos (7 total) from Phired Up Fridays to get thinking about how to look at recruitment/intake in a new way and how to adapt your process during this time.
- Read this blog post from Phired Up about digital recruitment.
- Review this document from Phired Up and AFLV for 12 immediate growth recommendations for the entire fraternity/sorority industry to whether the storm of COVID-19. You may also want to take advantage of these worksheets to help you brainstorm how your chapter or council can address each of the 12 recommendations.
Chapter and Council Officers
- The executive board should continue to meet regularly via Zoom or other video conferencing software. Chapters and councils are encouraged to establish a set time that works around every officer’s schedule and make sure everyone attends from week to week. Utilize other communication platforms in between video meetings.
- Chapters and councils should continue to engage chapter advisors in day to day chapter operations. Include advisors in the Zoom meetings with the rest of the executive board.
- Presidents are encouraged to meet with each executive board officer to discuss plan for completing position duties virtually for this semester while planning for upcoming semesters.
- If any officers will transition during Spring 2020, consider modifying transition documents or creating transition documents for future officers. Contemplate hosting several virtual transition meetings themed to several aspects of chapter management (i.e. finances, marketing & communication, member engagement, etc.).
Supporting Your Team
- Maintain Accessibility
- Have officers hold virtual office hours: Send out a Zoom link and members can join as desired to ask the officer questions pertaining to their role.
- Resources for Supporting Your Team:
- Strategies to Manage Your Newly Remote Employees
- A Guide to Managing Your Newly Remote Workers
- COVID-19 Has My Teams Working Remotely: A Guide for Leaders
- Your Team is Now Working Remotely – 5 Ways to Strengthen Communication and Team Cohesion
- Leading Through COVID-19
- 5 Ways to Get It Done, Even at Home
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is offering phone or online video-conferencing appointments. CAPS services are for both new students interested in engaging in services for the first time, and for students who were already engaged in counseling and want to continue their sessions virtually.
- Visit the Recreation and Wellness Center’s (RWC) Instagram page for free virtual group exercise classes.
- Headspace is a great app that is offering some fantastic resources throughout this period of COVID-19. For additional resources on how to mediate, visit Wellness & Health Promotion Services (WHPS).
- Maintain, to the best of your ability, a schedule during the day. Tune into online classes at a table, desk, or outside instead of your bed or a couch to help with concentration and information retention.
- Down Dog is an app that provides yoga workouts at all levels. Down Dog is offering free access to workouts for students and teachers through July 1st when you sign up with your .edu email address.
- Share this list of content to read, listen, and follow, curated by AFLV, with your members. It will help you get through this time. And you can watch together or discuss with your sisters/brothers!
- Game night/ trivia
- Send something out via email so everyone has it, can do it together, and socialize during it.
- Coloring pages, videos, articles, etc.
- Watch the same show or movie together with Netflix Party
- Start a book club
- Everyone reads a book or certain chapters by a specified date, then you all get together over Zoom to discuss.
- This also works for a virtual bible/religious text study.
- Virtual exercise classes
- Have your members all tune into the same virtual exercise class and workout “together.”
- Pair each member of the chapter together with someone they do not have a great opportunity to connect with throughout the year. Encourage them to connect at least once within the week either via phone or a video call. Check out this randomizer to make your life a little easier when randomizing parings or small groups. Rotate groups around every few weeks or so. This would be especially great for newer members the chapter may not know as well yet.
- Many more great ideas here!
- Member of the week
- Highlight the cool things your members do in school, on campus, and in their free time. Have them submit a brief bio and reason why they love your organization for you to post with their photo.
- Senior spotlights
- Highlighting our graduating seniors is especially important. Have seniors submit a brief bio and their biggest piece of advice, fondest memory, favorite part of your organization, etc. to be posted with their photo. Make sure you give every senior their special time to shine.
- IG story polls
- Keep members engaged by asking them meaningful, silly, or fun questions via Instagram polls and questions. Then share their responses.
- #WhyPhiFriday, #TauTuesdays, #WearLettersWednesday, etc.
- Get your members posting about your organization and engaging with each other and your chapter account through a common hashtag.
- Spirit Week
- Host a week of themed days where members can dress up or do something at home. Have them submit and post pictures showing off their creativity and spirit. You can even crown a winner each day.
- Zoom with those in the same class or major to discuss the reading/content from that week, planning for next semester’s schedule, etc.
- If you don’t already have a GroupMe for each college/major in your chapter, now is also a good time to create that. Use these groups to ask others what classes they’re taking, for help with coursework or planning your schedule for summer and fall, and for ideas on career planning.
- Hold a Zoom call with juniors and seniors to give and share resources on internships and the job search during this difficult time for the job market.
Community Service & Philanthropy
These times call for us to support our local communities now more than ever. Here are some ideas for ways to do that.
Ways to donate your time:
- Have food delivered to the Emergency Department nurses and doctors at your local hospital.
- Adopt a grandparent by becoming a pen pal with an isolated senior citizen.
- Donate blood. Due to the cancellation of blood drives, the American Red Cross faces a severe blood shortage. Healthy individuals are needed to donate now to maintain a sufficient supply.
- Volunteer with Meal on Wheels to deliver food to senior citizens or to keep in touch with senior citizen through telephone calls.
- Volunteer from home through these HandsOn At Home
- Check out this list for additional virtual volunteer opportunities
Organizations in need of financial donations:
- CDC Foundation: Supports the critical health protection work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is raising emergency response funds to enable the CDC to respond to COVID-19.
- Feeding America: With a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries, donations to its COVID-19 response fund will help food banks across the country support the most vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic. (Second Harvest Foodbank of Central Florida is part of the Feeding America network.)
- The Salvation Army: Ensures people have access to food, shelter and childcare through its nationwide network. Outreach includes drive-through food pickups, community-based food delivery through canteens and meals at Salvation Army facilities. It also provides snacks and hydration to first responders.
- Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation: Directs money to organizations leading on-the-ground efforts in the restaurant community and provides zero-interest loans to businesses to maintain payroll during closure or reopen once the crisis has passed. It will establish a relief fund for individual restaurant workers facing economic hardships or health crises as a direct result of COVID-19.
Other ways to help:
- Buy a social distancing hat to support Meals on Wheels. All proceeds from these hats ($30) will go directly to Meals on Wheels, which brings food to the elderly so they can stay safely inside.
- When ordering take out or delivery, buy from local restaurants to help support your local business and economy.
- Have medical supplies or know someone who does? Donate these to your local healthcare facility.
- What do you normally do for graduating seniors? So how can we move this to a virtual program or event to show we still care about and honor them?
- Do you hold a Senior Send Off event where each seniors’ Greek family reads letters to them? Awesome, do it on Zoom!
- Do you make scrapbooks of photos for each graduating senior? That’s great, use Canva to make these electronic!
- You might also want to collect these letters, photos, videos, gifts, etc. and use leftover chapter funds to mail them or other care packages to each senior
The following programs are ideas that can be utilized to provide education to your chapter. All of these ideas can be done virtually and can be counted towards chapter programming for Standards of Excellence.
Student Conduct and Academic Integrity
This fall, Student Conduct and Academic Integrity (SCAI) are offering a free Fall 2020 Workshop Series. All sessions will be held through Zoom. No RSVP needed, just join via the link. View the full list of workshops, and consider using them as educational tools for your entire chapter.
- Chapters have access to free alcohol education in a 45-minute presentation format via Zoom at your convenience.
- Along with this presentation, participants will be expected to complete measures immediately prior to the presentation, right after, at one month, and at 6 months after. All surveys can be completed via Qualtrics.
- All of these surveys will be completely anonymous, meaning there will be no names on them and no way to connect the information to your fraternity or sorority. This information will be used to learn more about the effectiveness of the program, drinking habits, and to make the programming better for the students receiving it!
- Total time to complete presentations and surveys is about one hour and fifteen minutes.
- Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions and to set up your presentation date.
- Programming can also come from your own members. A great option is for your officers to present on a topic related to their position. Academics are a great example of this. Your VP of Academics or Scholarship Chair can put together a presentation about the resources UCF provides for academic support. Content specific to online courses is most relevant right now, and they can easily find some content online for this.
- UCF Student Academic Resource Center (SARC) has many resources online, as well. SARC Online offers resources for learning skills (i.e. test prep, time management, study skills), as well as major- specific content.
- Right now might seem like a scary time to be looking for an internship or a job. Consider providing education to your members (or just juniors and seniors) about networking, resumes, interviews, LinkedIn, etc. to your members during this time of unknown.
- UCF Career Services has some upcoming virtual programming. Share this as a resource for your members or require them all to attend the same program and count it towards your chapter’s member education for the semester!
- “When I Grow Up” is a Facebook Live series hosted by a fraternity speaker and consultant. He hosts each session on different careers, like being a lawyer, realtor, performer, professor, athlete, etc. The past sessions’ recordings, as well as the links to the upcoming sessions, are available on the Facebook page.
- LEAD Scholars created the Virtual Leadership Academy to allow all UCF students an opportunity to become engaged in leadership development online at your own pace.
Learning Management Systems (LMS)
- Plaid has open its digital doors to any fraternal organization needing to host content online through their secure Learning Management System FREE of charge for the remainder of the spring semester. They support things like PDF documents, recorded webinars, YouTube and other hyperlinks to videos, and survey links.
- Google Drive is also an easy way to store documents, videos, etc. that might be part of your new member or membership education.
- Take advantage of any LMS options your inter/national organization already has for you. This might include education modules for certain officers, new members, and/or all members you can use to supplement in-person events you would have held this semester.
Multiple organizations have begun providing free webinars to fraternities and sororities. These resources are awesome ways to educate your whole membership for free with low effort. These are also great for individual learning and growth, so you might share these resources with your chapter in case they are interested in attending on their own.
- Here’s an idea for how to attend a free webinar as a chapter :
- Send out the link.
- Have everyone register for the webinar.
- Have everyone sign in by submitting a picture to one of your officers.
- After, host a Zoom chapter discussion to debrief together about the content and connect it to your chapter experience.
- Phired Up
Summer 2021 Semester
- Please review the FSL event planning page for guidance on in-person events and meetings.
- Adjustments to all fraternity and sorority houses (on and off campus) must be made to ensure the safety of residents and all students. Please see Fraternity and Sorority Life’s Housing Guidelines here.
Have more ideas? We want to hear them!
- Tag @ucffsl and #ucffsl on Instagram or email us at email@example.com to share the cool programs you are doing with your chapter. Include photos and we will repost them!
Want to talk through any of these ideas or how to implement them?
- Please contact any FSL advisor or Chapter Coach! Officers on your council’s executive board are great resource for this, too.