Last week we took a look at a common question amongst our Alpha’s, “Why won’t my brothers stay active?” I made the suggestion that an Alpha’s failure to retain members can be attributed to the fact that the Alpha is not offering a fraternal experience that appeals to all of its members. For one reason or another Brothers are not getting the experience that they signed up for. They are unhappy with their Chi Psi experience so what do they do? They leave.
This is a problem that we need to fix. So this week we are going to take a look at how an Alpha can improve the fraternal experience and in turn keep Brothers active.
1. Identify the reason your members joined. When someone joins Chi Psi they join for a reason. They will not join the organization and volunteer their time if they are not going to benefit from it. They join because they think that the fraternity has something to offer them. They join because the fraternity offers value and fulfills their needs. So take the time to figure out what your Brothers needs, interests, and values are.
2. Identify why Brothers stay involved. Ask the Brothers who stayed heavily involved all four years why they chose to stay to involved? What activities did they enjoy most? What activities, if any, deterred them from participating? Were there needs, interests, and values the same as seniors as when they first joined?
3. Ask why Brothers leave the Alpha? Contact Brothers who have left in the past and ask them why they left. Ask, what needs were not being met? Find out what interests and values they had that the Alpha failed to appeal to.
4. Identify the needs, interests, and values of your Brothers. Brother’s interests, needs, and values are going to vary. So to keep everyone happy and involved we need to make an effort to make our Brothers interests our interests. A freshman’s needs are going to be different from a senior’s. So we must participate in activities and programming that appeal to different people and different age groups. We must develop a tolerance for different interests and commitments.
5. Identify the activities that enhance membership. What activities really add to the experience? Which activities do Brothers look forward to and enjoy? What activities have the highest participation? What activities have the lowest participation? How can you improve activities that lack participation to make them more appealing to everyone?
6. Evaluate the recruitment process and pledge program. Are the recruitment and pledge process really preparing men for membership? If the recruitment and pledge process fail to provide a true well-rounded representation of what being a Brother is going to be like then Brothers may be unhappy when they are asked to do something that the recruitment and/or pledge process failed to prepare them for.
Now that you know what your Brothers needs, values, wants, interests, aspirations, etc. are, appeal to them! Make their interests your interests. Offer a well-rounded experience. Make sure you are providing opportunities for individual and collective development. Provide social events, educational events, leadership opportunities, relationship building opportunities, etc. Make sure the activities your Alpha is participating in appeal to different Brothers. But most importantly have fun! No one is going to stick around if the experience you are offering is not fun and rewarding!
If you are struggling to come up with events and activities to enhance your experience and appeal to different Brothers check out Chi Psi’s Program For Excellence. The Program For Excellence Manual is full of great ideas and activities for your Alpha!