Growing Nationals

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 only about ten years old since it was first founded nationally. In those ten years, we have managed to only charter five chapters. What way do you think expanding would be successful and make this fraternity grow?


Answer:

This is a unique and great question. But before it can be answered properly, you need to understand what your fraternity offers the Greek community.

In other words, why should someone join your fraternity over any of the other national fraternities? What value do you offer that isn’t offered anywhere else? What makes your message special?

This is actually the basis of a question I posted last week in this article: Is Nationals Worth It?

If you can answer those questions, then you probably can put together a compelling reason why guys should want to join your fraternity. This means that expansion is a possibility.

I literally get 5 to 10 guys a week asking me what they need to do to start a new chapter of a fraternity at their campus. Those guys are out there, you just need to find them.

The most logical way to start would be by contacting the brothers in your existing chapters and asking them if they know anyone at other schools who would be interested in starting a new chapter. That sell should be easier because it is built on an existing relationship.

Also, I would imagine your 5 chapters are pretty close to each other geographically. If that is the case, you can select a school that is a natural choice for expansion, and put an ad in the school paper advertising an information session about starting a new chapter. Be sure to put up hundreds of fliers on campus bulletin boards as well. If you offer free food at the information session, you should get plenty of guys to show up.

Those are the two simplest ways to expand and offer the most return on your effort. Remember though, you will not be successful unless you can offer a compelling value proposition for joining your national fraternity.

If anyone out there can add any ideas, please leave them in the comments below.






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One thought on “How Does a National Fraternity Expand?

  1. We don’t know the *root* of the problem. It sounds like you have tried to charter new chapters but those colonies failed? If so, first focus on values-based recruitment, and cast the vision (org goals, then local vision) for them, eventually revealing the big picture (vision at the national level). Second, allow people outside of the fraternity to serve as advisors at the local level. Before you start a colony, find adults who can get on board with your goals and support you. If you’re able to offer incentives (of any type), then do so. Colonies need expert advice, and having a solid set of adults (like community professionals and faculty on campus) to help the students build something great is key. It’s my experience that you need at least one person who is committed to be intrusive (yet still explicitly an advisor) and a group of several 5+ who are willing to help in smaller capacities.

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