fraternity nationals

One of the constant grumblings I hear is about the benefit of a fraternity’s national headquarters. A lot of brothers complain that the fraternity pays a ton of money in national dues, but does not see much benefit from all the fees that are paid.


This feeling should never happen. When you really stop to think about it, your chapter is the customer for your national fraternity. They should be providing great value to you for what you pay in dues. But are they???

I want to know what services or benefits you would like your national fraternity to provide your chapter.  I want to know what they can do to make your life easier.  If you are a fan of your national headquarters, take a second and explain why.  This will go a long way in educating others of the benefits of being a part of a national organization.

I really appreciate you entering your response in the comments below.






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6 thoughts on “Is Nationals Worth It?

  1. This is a ridiculous question. We all know that the national office provides absolutely zero benefit to the rank and file members. The website, Facebook page, and Twitter accounts are used only by the alumni. They are useless recruiting tools. The insurance, as has already been pointed out, is of no value since the terms of the policy are untenable. National offices exist for their own benefit, nothing more.

  2. I am a current chapter member struggling with this problem. My friend and myself are currently debating whether we should leave the fraternity because dues are so high. Our members pay $400 a month. That is a lot of money, but the problem is I have yet to see any real tangible value for it. 

    Everything I have gained from my fraternity has been from the great guys who come together and do real good. I have seen the financial reports, and because our house is owned by our school, we pay just the same for housing as anyone else. The nationals provide us with an advisor who comes once a year and gives some good advice for 3 days while he collects our reports and assesses us. Other than that there are conferences, yes, but we have to pay an extra absurd amount for those as well. 
    So basically the only thing we get is insurance coverage.  And to the commenter above who mentions ritual, I have to plug that my chapter is Alpha. We invented the ritual, if not the exact modern form of it. 

    Recently I have been reading a bunch of troublesome articles that detail what actually happens when nationals have to bail chapters out of hot water. All that expensive insurance coverage comes in handy then, right? Well…actually not so much. Nearly every situation results from members being drunk and engaging in questionable conduct. Said conduct goes against the national policies, which for a small example  detail that byob parties must check every ID, distribute wrist bands, and literally lock up any alcohol brought (no more than 1 sixpack per person) until they retrieve it in parts to drink from a legal bartender.
    If you read the actual rules and regulations,  they tend to be so absurd, its hard to imagine any fraternity current or previous following every one to the letter.  So the nationals swoop in, find a fault in their policy, kick out the offending members, and distance themselves from the event of questionable conduct. All that expensive insurance goes to protecting their image and does nothing for the chapter in question. 

    This presents me with real doubts. Are nationals really worth it? So far I have seen nothing to prove they are. In fact when I look at the fraternity super pacs, mine is near the top of the list in millions lobbied. So I know where most of those dues go.  Is there any precedent for chapters breaking away from nationals and flying solo? I am seriously considering urging my fellow brothers to take that path.

    • I have heard about chapters leaving their nationals, but this is an extremely rare occurrence and I don’t know all the details of my example.

      You bring up an interesting point. If I were you, I’d have a conversation with your national director about it. Explain to him that some of the brothers in the house do not understand the value they receive from the national dues they pay. Ask him to explain so you can explain to the brotherhood. Please report back what he says.

      pat

  3. As the National President of a small sized fraternity I have trouble with this very subject. The one benefit outside of insurance are organizing scholarships, awards, providing conventions with career networking, partnership with companies, internship within the national office. Some cover the expenses of their homes or pay for their chapter events.

  4. This is a terrible question. Please don’t give people advice that will lead them further astray for the national fraternity.

    I would say of course they’re worth it. It’s just hard to tell sometimes. The local chapter is not a customer of the national, though it would be nice if headquarters thought that way sometimes. The chapter is a wholly owned subsidiary.

    What’s often called national dues is actually dues and insurance. The insurance portion of that is probably $125-150 a semester. What you pay in actual dues is probably less than $50 a semester. If chapters are getting hit with multi-thousand dollar bills from headquarters, it’s because individual members aren’t paying what they owe or the chapter officers aren’t updating their rosters by required deadlines.

    You don’t realize the benefit of car insurance till you have a wreck. I hope people don’t ever have to deal with a major lawsuit of their chapter, but if you ever do then that 10-20 million in coverage is going to save your financial life.

    A lot of the negative interaction actives have with headquarters is because one of the biggest concerns the national has is protecting themselves from that liability risk, because too many suits over a few years will cause them to cease to exist nationally. So, they’re there to inspect chapters and keep them in the lines, with whatever time is left over they really do want to help you. But, in order to keep those costs you’re complaining about down they have a small over worked and under paid staff trying to supervise far too many chapters. They just don’t have time to get personally invested with you and help you change everything for the better all at once.

    The most important thing about a fraternity though is our ritual. Yes, people join people. That’s rush. And they do need to see fair value back in a good experience in exchange for their dues. That’s social & finances. But, none of that has anything to do with why the chapter or the fraternity exists. The ritual does. The biggest value of nationals is you wouldn’t exist without them. That’s the thing that’s bigger than you that makes this greek experience more than some guys you hung out with in school however many years ago. I know they aren’t always easy to deal with, but the idea of the national fraternity is more important than your relationship with their staff, and that’s what you’re paying for.

    • I appreciate your comment, but you have completely missed the point of the article. The topic is to promote creative thought about what type of value a national fraternity should offer their chapters. The typical national fraternity charges each chapter a couple hundred bucks a man in insurance/dues. The undergrads need to receive tangible value for this contribution.

      I have received many thoughtful ideas from undergraduates which I will distribute soon through my email list. If anyone is interested in receiving it, please sign up on the sidebar to the right.

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