dying fraternity

This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.

Question:

My fraternity is struggling financially, we can’t get more than half the brothers to actually come to chapter, and our house is falling apart to the point where it is almost unlivable and to top it off our alumni are completely useless. Our chapter is on the brink of collapse and I have no idea what to do about it, any thoughts?


Answer:

This is a huge and complicated question.   I’ll do my best to give you a quick answer.

First, remember that adversity builds character.  Dedicated individuals can overcome enormous obstacles.  Here are 10 quick things I would to do if I were in your shoes.  If any readers out there have any other tips, please add them in the comments below.

1 – Plan something that the brotherhood will look forward to.  If your fraternity doesn’t have something to look forward to, it will become stagnant and your brothers will become complacent.

2 – Realize that the best way to improve is by getting a little better each day.  In order to start, you have to step up as a leader and show the way.  You say the house is a dump.  Go over and do a little bit each day to improve it.  Try to get other brothers to join you.  I promise brothers will see your example, and they will end up helping.  Someone has to take the lead though.

3 – Eliminate all the crap the brotherhood hates and spend your time and effort focusing on the stuff the brotherhood likes.

4 – Cut the dead wood.  If you have brothers who are dragging the fraternity down for whatever reason, have a heart to heart talk about whether they really want to be a brother.  If they can’t meet expectations, get rid of them fast.

5 – Have a fundraiser.  I have written a bunch of articles on fraternity fundraisers.  I suggest having a raffle for a quick and easy cash infusion for your chapter.

6 – Make it a point to hang out together.  Strong brotherhoods eat together , study together and work out together.  By the sounds of your situation, that isn’t happening in your fraternity.

7 – Make your meeting worth coming to.  I’d bet a buck that your meetings are either information sessions or bitch sessions.  Both aren’t very productive ways for brothers to spend their time.  I’d probably skip them too.  Eliminate unnecessary meetings that only serve as a time suck.

8 – Reach out to alumni for advice.  This is done by calling them on the phone and asking direct questions.  If you can form relationships with a few alumni, more and more will start showing interest in the chapter.  Also, don’t neglect alumni from other chapters that might be in your local area.  They can help as well.

9 – Talk openly with your Greek Life Director and Nationals Staff on how to improve the fraternity.  Both have a vested interest in your success.

10 -Finally, get a copy of my book The Fraternity Leader.  It describes step by step how you should run your fraternity.  Share it with your other motivated brothers.    If you follow the advice in my book, you will save your chapter.

I know this is a quick list, but it is a good start.  I also know your situation is pretty daunting.  Realize though that you have a tremendous opportunity.   Someday you can look back with pride because you will be the one who saved your fraternity.  That will be a memory and accomplishment that no one will be able to take away from you.

This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.






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2 thoughts on “10 Quick Ways to Help a Dying Fraternity

  1. Our chapter was small and getting smaller.  We took the opportunity to remember what it means to be a member of a fraternity.  What motivated us to join in the first place. In essence, we had to get our swag back. Eat together, study together, play together, bitch together …. be Brothers.  Is there a sorority on campus that is struggling?  Have a social with them.  Does another fraternity need a hand with a philanthropy?  Chip in. We worked together to create shared experiences to renew the value of fraternity. Take pictures, use social media, blow your horn.  The bottom line is to remember why you are there in the first place.  The value created will invigorate the members to be what?  Brothers.   Good luck!

  2. Consider major changes. You may significantly lower dues, run two pledge classes in a semester… generally all the things you’d think of an expansion team doing to get a colony to chapter.

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