Put the “Society” Back in “Social”

by Matt Mattson

I’m no etymologist, but I’m pretty sure the words “Social” and “Society” are related.  If this is true, it supports our continual efforts to a) help organizaitons BE MORE SOCIAL, and b) redefine social as it relates to the organizations we work with.

Therefore, I would assert that SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS (like fraternities and sororities) have an obligation to society (no surprise there).  Furthermore, I would suggest that being SOCIALLY EXCELLENT requires a commitment to improve society through social means.

bigstockphoto_world_globe_evolution_1100391I’m very excited about our recent announcement about the annual Limitless Possibility Grant and its 2010 recipient, www.Kiva.org. I’m even more excited that there are other people in our field that are making similar commitments that challenge organizations (particularly Greek organizations) to be generous, service oriented, and philanthropic through social means.

Here’s an example of what I mean.  In a recent blog for Phi Delta Theta, Mark Koepsell of AFLV said,  ”In my many years working with fraternity and sorority members, there seem to be so many philanthropic fundraisers.   Sports tournaments, eating events, dance marathons, social events, and even week long competitions – all in the name of philanthropy.   Now don’t get me wrong…many organizations can’t survive without financial support and that is important work.  But really?  How much of an impact are we having?  In the end, chapters rarely raise more than $1000.  Members don’t really understand the broader context of the issue they are supporting.  And most of the time, the focus is more on what I would refer to as another social engagement opportunity as opposed to a true altruistic attitude of service.”

To relate Mark’s point to our concept of Social Excellence, the financial giving that we do is powerful, but the generosity that we demonstrate that requires a personal, emotional, human-to-human connection can have an even greater impact — on the receiver AND the giver.

Socially Excellent people support causes.

Socially Excellent people connect with the people whose lives are improved by those causes.

Socially Excellent people change the world through personal connection and the lifting up of others.

Socially Excellent people find creative, powerful, transformational ways to improve society by leveraging the power of people. 

Two examples of ways to do that: www.Kiva.org and AFLV’s First Ever Immersion/Service Experience.