Thursday, September 07, 2006

JL vs. GSS

I'm constantly comparing the JL to my college sorority, GSS. They are largely the same, yet have a few vast differences. (Plus I love making lists!)

1. Mission Statement

  • JL: committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action of leadership and trained volunteers.
  • GSS: promoting a lifelong commitment to service and diversity, in an environment of unity and equality, while creating opportunities for growth.

2. Purpose

  • JL: The purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.
  • GSS: There isn't a defined purpose, but the mission statement sums it up. However GSS also disclaims they are not entirely about service but also promotes a wide array of social events, which strengthen the bonds of friendship.

3. Vision

  • JL: To significantly improve the quality of life in our community by focusing our resources on critical needs of children and families, providing a legacy of trained volunteers, and building community partnerships to inspire shared solutions.
  • GSS: No clear defined statement.

4. Position Statements

  • JL: There are positions statements on the arts, children and families, education, elderly, environment, historical preservation, and teenage pregnancy.
  • GSS: There are no position statements. Everything is summed up under the one mission statement. GSS does a variety of activities and community service in whatever is needed or asked of the organization.

5. Members

  • JL: Young women who are at least 24 years old and fulfill all membership criteria and requirements. After just a few events I feel that some of these ladies are part of the JL because of "what it is" and not so much "what it does." I certainly hope I'm wrong.
  • GSS: A group of college girls who want the sorority life, but also have a love and passion for being a productive part of their community through volunteering. Mix that with some killer parties and social events. Although we all loved the social side, I do think that nearly all the girls absolutely loved the service side, too.

6. Training and Retreats

  • JL: The JL offers extensive and thorough training for it's many fundraiser, events, and placements. The retreats are very well planned and throughout with organized sign in sheets, name tags, agendas, and events. A lot is achieved in a small amount of time.
  • GSS: GSS didn't really host training sessions, but gave a great deal of information at meetings. I suppose the projects themselves were somewhat "on-the-job" training. We never sent pledges (excuse me, "members-in-training") on projects alone so there was always an active member to take control of situations. Retreats were amazing and fun, but never quite so organized and planned as what I've noted in the JL.

7. Activities

  • JL: The JL has several large scale activities in place that are repeated year after year. They are very well planned and organized. They are also very prominent in the community and greatly supported which makes them very successful.
  • GSS: GSS had several great ideas, but often didn't come to fruition quite as planned. The problem was the chair of a certain activity often didn't have a great deal of planning, organizing, or leadership skills and the committees chosen didn't either. I think the biggest issue was leadership. There were some fabulous ideas and events that didn't go quite as planned. However, instead of learning the mistakes and making the following year better, the event was not rescheduled. I think having a good solid event that was repetitive could have really helped the fundraising efforts.

8. Organization

  • JL: Uncanny! I love the organization! From the meeting agendas with appendices to the very informative Membership Directory and Yearbook with everything you need to know. Information includes mission, position statements, officers and committees, fundraising events, a calendar, pictures, and complete info about each member. If you can't get the info you need from the Membership Directory and Yearbook, it will tell you who to contact to get it.
  • GSS: Well, not so much! Attendance records were make-shift at most meetings. Agendas were just suggestive. Information was available but never seemed to be clear, even to those who were giving it. The biggest issue for most projects was lack of organization and respect of leadership.

9. Socials

  • JL: Not so much league sponsored and official as GSS events. There are a few planned social events but others aren't official and often appeal to the smaller groups within. The league is much larger than GSS with it's nearly thousand active members.
  • GSS: Woohoo! Now you're talking! At least one per month. Either a sisterhood social, a mixer with a fraternity, a date party, or a formal. No matter what it was it was always a good time.

10. Projects

  • JL: The JL has four major fundraising projects that are very successful and repeated each year, as well as one ongoing campaign. Also their are several "placements" in the league. Every member is assigned a placement and that is your project for the year.
  • GSS: There were more numerous projects in GSS. While we had a handful of staples that were regularly scheduled and repeated, we also took on a project from nearly anyone who asked and needed help as long as we had members to sign up. It was nice because there was a project for all interests and schedules.

11. Leadership

  • JL: A very well established leadership hierarchy of officers, board, and council members. I suppose I don't yet know enough to give my opinion of it, but thus far everyone does their respective position very well and operations flow smoothly.
  • GSS: An executive committee of officers. Often times I felt that officers were their for the name and not the position, which was a great disservice to our organization. The entire committee rarely seemed to work together or support other officers efforts, which again, hindered the entire group.

*Disclaimer: I LOVE my sorority! I met my best friends through GSS and loved every minute of my involvement and still miss it greatly! But there is a big difference between professional women in an organization and a bunch of college girls with a full classload and part time jobs. GSS is still the best of what's around!

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