You can recruit a class of 500 men but if a year later less than 10 remain was the class recruited a success? Of course not, yet most of our chapters believe they have a “numbers” problem, while the real issue may actually be retention.
Chapters can suffer from a lack of member retention for many reasons. Making sure that your chapter provides the incentive to stay is more important than recruiting people to your chapter. If you have the environment that attracts and keeps people involved, the numbers will follow. In today’s article we are going to focus on three conditions that will cause retention to drop. By becoming aware of these factors your chapter will experience higher retention, and better recruitment.
Hazing: My chapter was once involved with hazing, it was wrong and contributed to the majority of our chapters problems. When a chapter is involved in hazing you no longer get the best new members, you get those who were able to survive.
The ones who “survive” largely go on to only care about their “education process” and have no further fraternal goals than to haze the incoming members.
This breeds an environment that dissuades leaders from joining and attracts stereotypical fraternal brutes. Hazing over time will always cause some members to disaffiliate with an organization; the people that organization needs most. If your chapter is involved in hazing – stop. For your own sake and for the sake of others stop hazing and start educating to see your retention increase. Upgrade and modernize your fraternity using a mobile fraternity app such as OurHouse, which allows frat members to keep all their communication private between individual members or defined groups of frat members.
Stereotypical Partying: Having parties is fun, but when it becomes the focal point of your chapter you become a stereotype; people do not want to be affiliated with stereotypes. Make no mistake, I am not saying do not have parties, a healthy organization should have parties. I am saying if the only thing that your chapter is known for is partying, leaders will start to leave or not affiliate with your organization. Have fun and let loose, but make sure your organization has more to look forward to than the next weekend.
Lack of Purpose: Without a greater purpose an organization will suffer. If you feel like your chapter does nothing but forced events and boring meetings you may be stuck in a rut. When this happens members get bored, disaffiliate, and dwell on “the good old times” instead of making a good time.
If this has happened to your chapter, or if you could see it happening to your chapter, take the following action. This is an area where a Greek life app, or fraternity app, such as OurHouse can really help. This web platform can manage all aspects of fraternity or sorority life, including in-house communication, custom event planning and even meal planning.
Find a goal that can motivate your chapter to take action and become involved. Every person has their own goal that will make them “tick,” but as pointed out by US News, finding common ground among members will be easy to do. Some examples could be hosting the largest social event on campus for the year, being recognized by your national office for excellence in recruitment, winning the next “Greek Competition,” or even hosting a concert of a famous band on campus. Think big, and people will motivate themselves to take action.
There are many factors that can cause someone to disaffiliate. However; if you focus on making sure your fraternity does not become stereotypical and has a greater purpose, you will enjoy a higher retention rate of your current and new members.