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Brotherhood: A Cure for Poor Fraternity Retention


By Andrew Norrie – Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters Staff

Fraternity attrition is an issue that many groups struggle with but don’t prepare for until it becomes a reality. The necessity of signing bids always seems to take the forefront in the conversation about maintaining a chapter’s or colony’s health and well-being. However, attrition happens, and it can take a tremendous toll on your group.

One of the principle reasons why men leave your organization is because they’re lacking the crucial connections that the Fraternity strives to provide. They don’t feel at home, they don’t feel like they belong, and they lack the relationships that are anchors to a healthy fraternity.

An effective way to combat this problem is to form rotating brotherhood groups. This is a strategy that Phi Delta Theta expansion teams utilize during their colony recruitment campaigns to tackle the lack of connection that comes with bringing 25-80 new members together in a short period of time. It has proven to be very successful.

Brotherhood groups are a fun and dynamic way to counteract or prevent cliques, but more importantly, an incredible way of encouraging conversation about goals, values, and strategy that will benefit your group. These groups capitalize on the success that other strategies (i.e. Big Brother programs) bring but go even further and offer additional benefits.

Simply enter all the members from the desired group, be it a Phikeia class, colony, or entire chapter, into a random team generator. When you’ve built your teams, begin collaboration with chapter leadership on what discussions each group should have during their time together. Encourage your brotherhood groups to gather at least once that week to do something fun, get to know each other better, and discuss the questions you’ve chosen.

Potential discussion points could include:

  • Why did you join Phi Delta Theta?
  • Where do you see this chapter in one, three, five & ten years-time?
  • What do you dislike most about campus culture? How can Phi Delta Theta fix that?
  • What would it take for Phi Delta Theta to be worth your commitment?
  • What are you most excited about within Phi Delta Theta?
  • What do you want Phi Delta Theta’s reputation on campus to be? How do we get there?

At the next chapter/colony meeting, have the groups share what they did to bond and what they discussed during their time together. This will encourage a group-wide discussion and inspire fun things to do for the next brotherhood group. The following week or month, draw new groups, and begin again! When your organization is made up of your friends, and men who share the same vision you do, you’ve found your home.