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Understanding Why New Members Leave The Phikeia Program

10.03.2018

By Jim Rosencrans, Director of Growth

Each year, a number of new members decide to no longer continue their Phikeia journey after receiving and accepting an invitation to join Phi Delta Theta. While each new member has a unique reason for leaving, there are two main reasons that explain why:

Misaligned Expectations

The #1 reason new members leave is misaligned expectations from how they were recruited to what they experience upon accepting a bid. Communications surrounding time commitments and financial expectations are the main culprits. An example of this is stating that new members are only expected to attend one meeting a week for one hour, but in reality, they are asked to participate in social, brotherhood, philanthropy, and service events that far exceed that time expectation.

Lack of Connection

Another major reason why new members leave stems from a lack of meaningful connections. Many times, new members only genuinely connect with a few brothers but do not feel connected to the greater chapter. You see this more in larger chapters, but no matter your chapter’s size, it is important to introduce new members to as many brothers as possible before, during, and after the recruitment process.

Now that we know the main reasons new members leave, it is important to ask yourself and your chapter the following questions to keep new member engagement high and achieve a great retention rate.

Expectations:

  • Do new members/members know what is expected of them once joining?
  • Why do those expectations exist?
  • How are those expectations communicated throughout and after the recruitment process?

People:

  • What is your chapter doing to connect potential new members to initiated members during the recruitment process?
  • What is your chapter doing to continually strengthen bonds between all members in the chapter?
  • What are the expectations, goals, and objectives of your chapter’s big brother program?

Purpose:

  • What is the purpose of Phi Delta Theta on your campus?
  • What was your personal purpose or reason(s) for joining Phi Delta Theta?
  • What is the purpose behind the events and activities included in your Phikeia program?

Motivation:

  • What is your chapter doing to show its members how their involvement affects the chapter’s success?
  • How is your chapter recognizing members for their accomplishments?
  • How often is your chapter communicating to these accomplishments and publicly recognizing them?

Growth:

  • Is your chapter helping its members learn and grow throughout their time at college?
  • What opportunities does your chapter provide for personal and professional growth?
  • What is your chapter doing to continually challenge and educate members after the Phiekia program?

Feedback:

  • Who is responsible for tracking membership retention for your chapter?
  • What systems does your chapter have in place to receive feedback on membership experiences?
  • Once proper systems are in place, how is your chapter communicating and adapting to that feedback?

The recruitment of new members is one of the most enjoyable aspects of Phi Delta Theta membership, but a signed bid is only the first step in a greater effort to provide a meaningful experience for each new member and future brother. Transparent communication, facilitating meaningful connections, and examining the questions above will continually improve your chapter’s retention of its new members.

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