How to Give Fraternity Bids


I’m wondering how your fraternity decided to give out bids. My chapter does not come together to decide who gets one – the Recruitment Chair and one or two other guys, usually the former Recruitment Chair and an assistant to the current simply decide together. I feel that this results in a lot of “The Recruitment Chair liked you so you’re in” rather than “The chapter liked you so you’re in” which is how I feel it ought to be.

Can you offer any advice on how I might suggest that the chapter has more input on the bidding process?


How to Give Fraternity Bids

We would hold a brotherhood vote to determine who got bids.  If my memory serves me correct, we required 2/3 of the brotherhood to vote yes to get a bid.  However, the president also had the authority to give bids on his own.  This was to be used as a last resort in case a situation popped up where we couldn’t wait for a brotherhood election.

I was president for two years, and I think I exercised this privilege once.  This time we had our brotherhood vote on Sunday, and we were pinning our new members on Wednesday.  We ended up bringing a new guy out Sunday night, Monday night and Tuesday night and it was clear we wanted to give this guy a bid.

There was no time to organize a brotherhood vote.  So I consulted with the exec board and everyone agreed he should get a bid.  So we did it.  This is about the only scenario where I could see it being a good idea for just one person to have the authority to make the decision on a bid.  Notice even then I consulted with others.

I really don’t like how your chapter does it.  I find it very hard to believe that any fraternity would go along with the setup you currently have.  Having a few guys determine responsible for who gets accepted into the fraternity is ludicrous.  Unless your chapter is very apathetic, I would imagine there will be an outright revolt soon if you don’t do something.

While this policy has to change, the last thing your fraternity needs is for it to be done poorly.  Imagine the negative impact to rush if this issue blew up during a rush event.  I can see a couple brothers seeing a guy get a bid, but then becoming pissed publically because they don’t think he deserved it. And of course, no one wins when you air your dirty laundry.

What you need to do is have a sit down conversation (alone) with the chapter president about the issue.  Let him know your concerns.

During this conversation, let him know that you would like to bring a motion up during your next chapter meeting to make a change regarding this issue in your local constitution.  Be prepared to give him a letter that states the change and when you want it to be presented at a meeting.  Of course be sure to follow whatever policies you have in place for changing your constitution.

Now the issue will be out in the open, and the brotherhood will be forced to act on it.  Be sure that you don’t make it personal about the current or past recruitment chair.  It is not about them at all, it is about a bad policy that is in place.

If enough brothers feel the same way you do, then your fraternity should pass this and your problem will be solved.  If it doesn’t pass, then your fraternity has some serious issues that I would worry about.

Hope this helps.

To learn more, check out our most in-depth article on fraternity recruitment: The Complete Guide to Fraternity Recruitment.

3 thoughts on “How Should a Fraternity Give Out Bids?

  1. Jace, I get what you’re saying, but it sounds like an excuse for being lazy.

    Most nationals have bylaws about this, which also cover the percentages. Ours is run in accordance with those bylaws. It says there must be a chapter vote to extend a bid; that you must have quorum to have a chapter vote; and, it must be 80% of those brothers present and eligible to vote in favor to extend a bid (70% in the case of a legacy).

    This is how we do it… couple actives with a list of simple questions and a video camera in two different rooms. Rushees are called in one at a time to do a quick interview. They give their name, some background, and a funny story. It’s mostly to remind brothers who the guy during the vote that follows the end of the rush round. We roll the guy till everyone knows who we’re talking about, then pause the video. If there’s no objection then bid, if there is then 3 pros/3 cons, show of hands against, next.

    It’s not a perfect system. It’s going to take a couple hours to finalize a 40 man pledge class. The funny stories can be amusing, but it is a long process. Everyone’s tired and would rather be drinking after dry rush. It can get heated at times, but mostly everyone knows the more efficient they are the quicker it’ll be over.

    At the end of the day, you want it to be a rare thing to vote guys out after they’ve taken a bid. You want your chapter making the decision. You don’t want that handful of guys that didn’t get to block a guy now trying to make him quit – that can get out of hand. You don’t want them to end up brothers with someone they hate. You want your whole chapter to make the decision. If it goes against someone, then at least they have the opportunity to take someone else’s bid. Better to be straight with them from the start. To each their own I guess, but that’s the process I’m used to and I support it 100%.

  2. Jace – if it works for you guys and the brotherhood is happy with the setup than that is great. However, I just don’t see why the brothers wouldn’t want to have a more proactive role in who is invited into the fraternity.

    I think delegating this responsibility to a select few is neglecting your responsibilities as a brother and will lead to apathy in the chapter.

    Like I said, if it works for you than that is great and the only thing that really matters. But I don’t think that is the best setup.

  3. I’ve got to disagree with you on this one Pat. Our chapter does bids similar to the way described in the question. There are a couple of reasons why this is most beneficial. 1. These brothers are committed to be at every single rush activity (in theory the entire chapter would be at these events, but we all know that’ll never be the case with any chapter) and because they are at every activity they get to meet everyone potential rush. 2. This prevents us from having to hold a brotherhood vote that goes until the early morning to decide who is and who isn’t getting bids.

    The way we give out bids is as follows: We have a recruitment board, that is made up of 6-9 guys. (we have a 45 man chapter, so the board size will vary depending on your chapter size) Those brothers that make up that board are nominated by the recruitment chair, and then ratified by the brotherhood. Throughout the week, brothers are at the events trying to recruit as many guys as we can. When we come in contact with someone that we think would be an asset to the chapter we take them personally to a member of the recruitment board, and introduce them. They get to have a discussion about the chapter and things like that. Later that night the members of the board meet and discuss each of the guys they interacted with that day, and make a decision on whether or not to bring them back for a bid interview. If we decide to bring them back, then the board notifies the chapter, and we have 12 hours to respond with our opinions. If there are no issues with the potential new member, then a member of the board holds an interview with him, and if all goes well then a bid is offered at the end of that interview.

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