At the CO we just finished working with our Alphas on roster adjustments. During the process it got me thinking, or as the #23 Sam Bessey would say “it got that little redneck hamster turning the wheel in my head.”
So as the hamster was working hard and just a turnin’ that wheel, I thought to myself: “Every year we see Brothers leave an Alpha for one reason or another, but why? What if our Alphas did not have this problem? What if our Alphas had fewer brothers leave or take time away from the Alpha?”
The answer I came up with was that Alphas are not looking at the underlying problem. Alphas are not addressing the fact that their membership retention may be suffering because the best fraternal experience is not being offered.
So many Alphas look at losing a Brother in terms of dollars and cents instead of looking for the underlying problem. Alphas become concerned about losing a member because they are still required to pay dues, insurance, and ABF. So what does the Alpha do? They go through the process written out in our bylaws to move him to dormant active status or ask him to resign his membership, but the Alpha is not actually fixing the problem. More often than not, the Alpha fails to identify the reason a Brother left in the first place. If the Alpha does take the time to identify the problem, the Alpha rarely does anything to actually fix the issue.
They say, “We don’t need to worry about Bob. We will just recruit someone to replace him.” Well guess what? If you fail to identify and address the reason why a Brother leaves the Alpha, there is a good chance you are going to lose the next guy you recruit, too.
I could care less if you can get another member in the door. If he leaves any time after he starts pledging what good does it do your Alpha? You have to keep promoting yourself because the real sale is always after the sale. Just because they are already a member of your organization does not mean you can just stop appealing to them. You have to constantly remind your members what a good decision it was to join your organization.
To be honest with you, I think that retaining active members almost has the same effect on Alpha size as a large pledge class. By retaining more members, your Alpha will have a knowledge that comes only with experience. The longer a Brother is active, the more experience and knowledge they accrue and give back to the Fraternity. The more active members an Alpha has, the easier it becomes to recruit new members, which gives the Alpha an opportunity to continue growth.
Think about it. How strong would your Alpha be if you had a retention rate of 95% or even 90%? How much easier would it be to sell your organization to potential new members if every Brother remained active because they were enjoying their experience?
Let that little hamster-wheel turn in your head for a little while. Take some time to think about what kind of changes your Alpha can make to improve it’s retention rate. Think about what you can do to ensure that all your members are enjoying their experience, and in next week’s blog I’ll give you a few tips to help keep your Brothers active in the fraternity.