Being on the executive board of your sorority or fraternity can be a huge time commitment, but you can save some time by getting organized and simplifying your event planning process! Here’s a quick, step-by-step guide to planning a social event for your Greek organization:
1. Identify Your Budget (And Stick to It)
The budget for social events comes out of what chapter members pay in dues each semester. Depending on how cost effectively you plan your event and what kind of event it is, you may want to charge members an additional fee for attendance to help cover costs. If you’re planning a formal or semi-formal event, it’s a lot more common to have an extra admission charge than if you were planning a regular social. There are a few other types of events you could plan that all have different budget limits, like: grab-a-dates, sisterhood/brotherhood socials and philanthropy events. Make a budget in a spreadsheet and stick to it!
2. Pick a Theme
Picking a theme is arguably the most important part of planning a social event for sororities and fraternities. Because there are always events happening, Greek organizations tend to repeat the same themes over and over. But as social chair, it’s your job to create a unique and fun event that everyone will remember as the years go by. Pinterest is always great for collecting inspiration, but it never hurts to get some feedback from a few chapter members to make sure it’s something they actually want to attend.
3. Find a Venue
Here comes the hard part—finding a venue. You definitely want to pick a venue that complements your theme well. Similarly to how you wouldn’t hold a formal event at a dive bar, you don’t necessarily want to host your hillbilly-themed swamp party in a fancy hotel ballroom. It’s also a good idea to get quotes for catering from your prospective venues so you can knock out food and beverage at the same time.
4. Set a Date
Now hear me out—“set a date” comes after “find a venue” for one reason only: availability. Sometimes, you find the perfect venue at the right price but it’s not available on the original date you were hoping for. That can entirely throw off your planning rhythm. If you want to simplify your process, pick a few options for dates ahead of finding the venue so you have some wiggle room. Then you can nail down a final date while booking the venue. Your sanity will thank you later.
5. Make a Sign-Up Sheet
So you have a theme, a venue, a date… what are we missing? The attendees! Before you start giving your venue and caterer a final head count, you need a sign-up sheet for your chapter members to RSVP. You’ll also want to create a form field for each attendee’s shirt size. It’s really easy to set up an online invitation system but it’s also helpful to have a paper version for members to sign up manually when you see them at chapter meetings. It can be difficult tracking everyone down, so make sure to give them a hard deadline. Don’t forget to account for their dates!
6. Book Transportation
With a final head count, you can book your transportation. With such a large group, buses are usually the way to go, but all campuses have different restrictions on transportation and insurance policies. Double check with your executive board and student government on any on- and off-campus policies you may need to follow.
7. Finalize Decorations and Entertainment
If you have a big enough budget you can hire entertainment and order decorations, but more likely you will be rallying the troops to help make a music playlist and DIY decorations. Since there are so many of you, you might as well use your numbers to your advantage! The middle ground for cost effectiveness would be to hire a DJ and make the decorations yourself if you’re crafty enough.
9. Order Party Favors
Remember how your job is to make this social event memorable? What better way to do that than with a custom-themed shirt for each attendee to take home! If you recorded everyone’s shirt sizes on the RSVP list, you’re already a step ahead. You’ll need to either create a design to match your theme or customize a pre-existing design. Make sure you use an officially licensed provider of Greek T-shirts, like MetroGreek, to get a high-quality product.