Guest blog post written by Kyle Koelbel, Arizona State University graduate and Educational Leadership Consultant for Sigma Pi, a leading men’s Fraternity.
We always want more money to operate with. We always want to see our money working for us, and we want to get the most out of our money. Yet in the fraternal world, too many chapter members don’t see their dues going as far as they could, and too many men decide not to join due to the upfront cost of the fraternal experience. They lack an understanding as to the return on their investment that they could see.
As it is with all aspects of a fraternity, a chapter’s success starts and ends with its membership. Sometimes, we lose out on a great opportunity for the quality men that we always preach about because we’re too focused on the dollar sign. We lose men in two ways; one is by providing insufficient information to our potential members and their parents in the beginning and the other through a lack of programming. What can we do differently?
List fees during recruitment
If you were to look at the recruitment materials produced by your chapter and your chapter website, would you find a complete breakout of fees and dues that are required of members? For most of you, the answer is no. Why does membership cost have to be a secret? We continuously lose men during their new member process and just prior to initiation because they did not know how high the cost was going to be. Why can’t we be honest about dues in the beginning?
Choose your leadership wisely
The men leading your chapter are the ones that people look up to and answer questions to potentials and their parents. They set the tone for how the chapter will operate for the upcoming term. Taking the time during elections to listen to each candidate, ask questions and make educated votes as to who those men will be are crucial to your chapter’s success. Too many times during an election, men run unopposed, they have short speeches and are asked no questions about their knowledge of the position. There is focus on what they will work to accomplish if they are to be elected. How does electing a treasurer with no idea of where the chapter could improve on its spending help the chapter? Just because a brother is a Finance major does not mean he has the drive and determination to complete the duties of his office to the extent the chapter needs.
Accept advice from alumni
Yes, a member’s time as an elected leader for their Chapter is a learning experience, one that will help them for years after they leave college. But it does not mean that it must be a time of reinvention. There are always alumni who are willing to help, provide insight, and double check what is being done to ensure that the direction the chapter is going is a positive one. While your chapter may not have a direct alumni advisor for a position, the fraternity HQ employ alumni members to provide that support and guidance when necessary.
If we work on these simple steps, we can begin to see our dues work for the brotherhood in ways we did not know were possible. Let’s get to work!
Kyle Koelbel is from Denver, Colorado. He attended Arizona State University where he studied Urban Planning. His experience in fraternity finances comes from being President of a 120 man chapter and overseeing a $350,000 annual budget for his Chapter at Arizona State as well as serving as the treasurer for the ASU IFC and its $80,000 budget. He is currently working as an Educational Leadership Consultant for Sigma Pi.