As I traveled the country as Grand President, meeting undergraduate and alumni brothers, I was often asked if I got paid for this role. I always proudly responded, “More than you can imagine.” Many brothers were surprised, however, to learn I received no financial compensation.
The office of Grand President is a volunteer role (as are our other board positions). SigEp volunteers give of our time and treasure, almost always expecting nothing in return. Yet, we seem to always benefit disproportionately. It’s funny how that works.
As SigEp begins the earnest implementation of our strategic plan, we’ve set an audacious goal when it comes to volunteers. We’ve committed to recruit, train, support and retain 15,000 volunteers across the Fraternity. This includes filling a wide range of roles from traditional alumni and volunteer corporation members, to mentors for chapter officers, to a career coach for each undergraduate. Each role is nuanced and can fit what an alumnus or friend is able to give in regard to time commitment, skill application or proximity. Regardless of the role, I can tell you from firsthand experience — if you become a SigEp volunteer, you WON’T be sorry!
Today’s undergraduates seek and need mentoring and coaching more than ever. The expectations have never been higher for them in their roles as chapter leaders and as young men starting their careers. The good news is, SigEp has an abundance — dare I say embarrassment — of talent and experience accumulated in our alumni ranks.
Former Grand President Phil Cox used to say, “Behind every successful chapter are great volunteers.” And he was right. Without fail, there’s a direct correlation between high-functioning chapters and their access to committed volunteers who advise them.
And given the near 100 percent turnover in chapter membership every four years, they are virtually the only institutional memory our chapters have.
The truth is, SigEp simply couldn’t turn the lights on every day were it not for the thousands of men and women already coaching and mentoring our chapters and undergraduate members. We couldn’t even come close to paying enough staff to carry out all the essential work our volunteers do every day. Not to mention the cost we’d incur if we paid each one what they’re actually worth, taking their many decades of life and career experience into account.
In their latest Value of Volunteer Time Report, Independent Sector and the Do Good Institute estimated the value of a volunteer hour to be $31.80, a 6.2 percent increase from 2021 to 2022. If we assume just a couple volunteer hours per mentor, per week, SigEp will receive almost $1 million in human capital and talent each week when we reach our goal of 15,000 committed volunteers. As my grandfather used to say, “That’s adult money.”
It’s never been easier to become a coach or mentor to a SigEp chapter or brother. With ubiquitous cell coverage and the advent of remote meeting technology, you no longer have to be concerned about proximity, unless that’s important to you. You can work with a chapter or undergraduate on the other side of town or the other side of the country. If you’d like to learn more or you’re ready to sign up, just go to sigep.org/volunteers.
I’ll end where I started. I will conclude my term as Grand President in August at our 58th Conclave in San Antonio. It’s been an immense honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to give back to our brotherhood in this way over the past two years. I’ve been compensated more than you can imagine in my role as a SigEp volunteer. Getting the chance to work with undergraduates who are hungry to become better men is a gift. As the old saying goes, “The older I get, the younger my teachers become.” In other words, sometimes our young brothers teach me as much as I teach them.
So, take a chance and give volunteering a try. You WON’T be sorry!
Billy D. Maddalon,