I am a sorority woman.
When I was in college, I established myself as a leader in the Greek community, with the intent of leaving the community stronger than it was when I joined. I focused on the lasting impact I could have on the community.
My efforts manifested in many ways: raising money, hosting events, scaling the growth of the community, and more through my involvement with the College Panhellenic Council.
The College Panhellenic Association is an umbrella organization over sororities on campus and is comprised of women representing each of their chapters. The College Panhellenic Council works with its individual chapters to promote unity, put on community-wide events, and to involve every sorority in community-wide events. The Panhellenic Council’s main objective is to improve the Greek community.
What I found was that it wasn’t easy. It was hard to organize the over 1,500 people in the community. With chapters, councils, national organizations and the school involved, I never knew where to start. All of the information related to who to contact for what was siloed between different systems and stored in different spreadsheets.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love spreadsheets, and during my time with the College Panhellenic Association, I had one for just about everything. Volunteer signup? Spreadsheet. Event RSVP? Spreadsheet. Alumni involvement? Spreadsheet. The challenge was I didn’t have any aggregate of this informations anywhere outside of my brain. I could tell you that Ashley went to every event, and was one of the most involved people in the community, but there was no way to track that outside of going through all 80 of my spreadsheets.
Spreadsheets are great, don’t get me wrong, but when we’re talking about getting to know people--like really getting to know people and building relationships with them--you have to have an overall understanding of who those people are, and what they care about.
It’s hard to empower people to be leaders in the community if you don’t have a way to identify who those leaders are. If I didn’t personally know that Ashley was a rock star, how could I elevate and empower her to be more of a leader within our growing community?
If I had a way to track who had done what within the larger Greek community, and if the chapters had tools to do the same, we’d be able to identify the people who were or could become leaders. If we took it a step further and shared that information with one another, we’d be able to know everything our community was doing.
The ability to have this type of information could give us the agency to recognize leaders more holistically, provide the community with programming that was relevant to it and, ultimately, to have a better understanding of the overall impact of our work. Sharing these kinds of insights with both school and national organizations would have been incredible. This is what I was trying to do. I was trying to get to know the community, so that I could lend a hand in strengthening it.
In order to organize a community with individual chapters, there needs to be tools to do so. Networks require some TLC, the determination to make it happen and the tools leaders need to organize. We had two out of the three things, and I can only imagine the impact we could have made if we had had the right tools in place.
I didn’t know at the time that I was trying to build a Network, I just thought I was trying to better my community. When I came to NationBuilder and saw what the product was, my brain exploded. This is the thing I had been looking for, this is what I had needed to scale my community and elevate leaders.
Over the past two years I’ve been working with organizations at NationBuilder to help them grow and scale. Through that experience, I’ve been able to reflect and realize exactly what I had been trying to build in college: a Network of women committed to strengthening our community. With a distributed infrastructure, Networks have the power to do amazing things, and NationBuilder Network can provide them with the tools to make it happen.