3 Reasons We Love Greek Conferences
If you speak Greek (fraternities and sororities, that is), you likely know that The Fraternity Communications Association (FCA) is celebrating its Centennial this month. And you’re probably aware that the Rhyme & Reason team has shown up to FCA and Foundation for Fraternal Excellence (FFE) events for about as many years as we’ve been in business. But did you know that Lexi and I have attended both of these events as Sorority staff members? That’s right, whether virtually or in person, we have shown up for FCA and FFE as staff and partner vendors.
While repping our respective sorority staff, Lexi and I have left each conference with creative solutions to our challenges and a notebook full of new ideas to explore. Today, when we attend as vendor partners, we get to take part in providing the solutions but we also have just as many takeaways too. Here are just a few:
1. We’re All in This Together
Greek life on college campuses can be, well, competitive. Whether we like it or not, recruitment, academics and Greek Weeks keep fraternities and sororities in a well-spirited race to the top of campus perceptions. What Lexi and I didn’t realize until our first FCA event, and were delighted to learn, was that the competition more-or-less ends at graduation.
The Fraternity Communications Association and the Foundation for Fraternal Excellence aim to foster a sense of unity within our niche market and share best practices so that together, all Greek-letter organizations can thrive. After all, because each organization is communicating with its own members, there’s virtually no overlap in the target market.
As such, the conference events are all about creating a place where fraternity and sorority professionals can meet, compare notes, and inspire one another. To borrow a phrase from my Rho Gamma (unaffiliated recruitment guide) days, “No matter the letters, we’re better together.”
Lexi and I witnessed such open communication on a macro level: curriculums full of round tables and panels where staff members from various organizations share their recipe for success. And on a micro level: in between sessions and during happy hours, where we mingled, celebrated, and commiserated with those who understood the unique challenges and triumphs prevalent in our industry.
2. It’s Something so Much Bigger than You
Assuming you are a member of a fraternity or sorority, you may recall the common refrain, “This is something so much bigger than you.” And over the years, you came to understand that your chapter wasn’t only present on your campus, it was on many–each with its own story, personality, and sub-traditions–all guided by the values and mission of the (inter)national organization. By belonging, believing, and participating in something larger than your campus bubble, your lens on the world expanded. FCA and FFE are an opportunity for you to widen your lens again, this time through the perspective of your professional role.
If you haven’t yet attended an FCA or FFE conference event and are on the fence, let me be the first to tell you: the juice is worth the squeeze – for you and the organization you work for.
With a mix of sessions that benefit your organization as a whole (think: the definitive guide to running a successful Day of Giving) and you as an individual in your role (“Help! Is anyone else facing this challenge?”), both FCA and FFE cater to the unique challenges of marketing and promoting a Greek-letter organization and its fundraising arm, respectively. And because every event allows vendors, such as yours truly to attend, you benefit from the expertise of someone on the outside looking in.
In fact, even as a partner vendor, our team often sits in on sessions so that we can hear your ideas and get our gears turning on solutions for you. We want to be thinking about what you’re thinking about, regardless of if we work together (although, we would really love to!), because we’ve seen a thing or two over the past 15 years. I will also wholeheartedly admit that the ideas of those attending also inspire me personally in my role.
3. Conference Learning is On-The-Job Learning
Whether you’re tenured in your role or are still learning the ropes, the opportunity for on-the-job learning inevitably gives way to the routine of your responsibilities. By getting out of the office and conversing with peers, you are breaking that routine and reimagining those responsibilities.
The R&R team values conference learning so much, in fact, that our benefits include an educational allowance and time off to learn something new. And when we return, we host a lunch and learn to share our key takeaways so that the rest of the team can benefit as well.
Let’s say your goal is to fully revamp your organization’s quarterly magazine, something you have never done before. No small task, indeed. Where do you start? By sifting through past editions? Flipping through other magazines? Or maybe even turning to Google. These are all great jumping-off points, but what they won’t get you is the error part of “trial-and-error.”
I assure you, whatever challenge you are facing, regardless of whether you are a full-fledged marketing team or a one (wo)man show, someone has tried an idea and either prospered or failed. By connecting with those someones, you will gain from those who prospered and learn from those who failed.
It should be obvious by now, we’re big fans of the Fraternity Communications Association and Foundation for Fraternal Excellence. This post is not sponsored and we were not asked to write this. Rather, I share this in the hopes that more organizations attend and offer their fresh and exciting perspectives. Through this, Greek-life as a whole, the individual fraternities and sororities, and the vendors who partner with them will all thrive together.