I have received thousands of questions over the years on my Need Fraternity Advice section.
It seems like these few come up over and over again. Here is a compilation of answers that will help fraternity men with their most frequently asked questions. Note if you ever have a question you want me to answer – please submit it through that link.
1. How do you motivate your brothers?
This might be the #1 question I get on TFA. There are two ways to motivate brothers.
One, be sure you do not over-program.
Students today have class, studying, work, other student organizations, intramural sports, other friends, girlfriends and more. If you put two or three mandatory fraternity events on top of that, it doesn’t take long before it starts to feel like work. And if it feels like work the brothers will never be motivated.
Focus on fewer, higher quality events. This will improve motivation.
Two, be sure to get brothers involved in the planning stages of events.
The 5% of the brotherhood who does everything often complains about the 95% who doesn’t help. The 95% complains because they aren’t given the opportunity to contribute. Bring them in on the planning stages, and they will be much more motivated to see a successful outcome.
2. Can I quit my fraternity and join another one?
No – you cannot. When you join a fraternity, you join it for life. This article goes into great detail about the different quitting/wanting to join a new fraternity scenarios:
3. Will I be hazed if I join a fraternity?
I really want to say no here. In a perfect world I could. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.
Maybe I’m naïve, but I believe the vast majority of chapters out there don’t haze. It is the few that do that strike the fear in all guys rushing fraternities.
In reality, strong chapters don’t haze, weak chapters do. Hazing destroys a chapter from within because it creates division amongst brothers and creates animosity. Do you really expect a guy to trust another guy when he hazed him just a few months prior? Also, when the novelty of hazing wears off, it will leave brothers disinterested. Believe it or not, screwing with freshmen will eventually get old.
Trust your gut on this one during rush. If you feel like something isn’t right when brothers answer questions about their new member period, then you are probably right.
4. What are successful methods to recruit new members?
Fraternity recruitment is hard. We have to overcome negative stereotypes, misunderstanding of what fraternity life is really like and often ourselves. We often tend to focus on recruitment for one month a year, and that is the surest way to fail. Check out these articles below to improve your fraternity recruitment:
5. Can I start my own fraternity?
There are a bunch of reasons why you don’t want to start a completely new fraternity. Here are a few:
You need insurance that a national fraternity provides. You don’t want to be held liable years down the road for something a dumb brother did because you started the fraternity. That is what nationals is for…
You don’t want to spend all your time designing pledge books, pins, crests, rituals ect….
You want to be part of a national organization for all the resources they provide. They are there to help make you successful. Who wouldn’t want that?
You also want to be a part of a national fraternity to take advantage of other chapters for road trips, regional meetings and national conventions. All are a great time and important networking opportunities.
If you want to start a chapter of an existing fraternity at your school and become a founding father – check out this article:
6. How do I get our alumni more involved?
Life changes big time after graduation. And the further from graduation the brother is the harder it is to stay in touch. Fraternity alumni have different priorities – namely career and family – then undergraduate brothers. That doesn’t mean they love their fraternity any less, they are at just different stages of life.
Here are some great tips on how to build relationships with your alumni:
7. How do I get brothers to pay their dues?
All chapters run across deadbeat brothers who don’t pay their dues on time. These guys put a huge financial strain on the chapter. They aren’t the only ones at fault though. The chapter leadership who lets them get away with being delinquent are equally to blame. Hold your brothers accountable for their responsibilities. Your fraternity will be better as a result.
8. My fraternity has done the same thing forever; how do I get brothers to change?
Brothers will always use tradition to keep doing the things they have always done. I don’t need to tell you that this isn’t always positive. The best solution for this is to come up with a better idea. Do you despise the non-sense that the brotherhood puts the new members through? Do you hate having the same social events every semester? Has your rush become stale? If so, propose new and exciting ideas. Your brotherhood is probably begging to mix things up. They just don’t have a better idea…
9. My fraternity sucks – how do I make it better?
Every move for change starts with one brother. This one guy believes in a vision and dedicates himself to making things better. He will share his vision with other brothers. Other brothers will take notice of what he is doing. Before long, there will be several brothers dedicating themselves to the vision. This movement will grow and grow, and that is how you change the culture of a fraternity. It just takes one guy who has the passion and dedication to improve the fraternity.
Of course, there are a ton of great resources out there to help you build the vision and make it a reality. I may be biased, but thefraternityadvisor.com and The Fraternity Leader – The Complete Guide to Improving your Chapter are the best resources out there. Be sure to check out these two pages for other great resources: