A Fraternity for Life
Phi Delta Theta’s alumni clubs continue the “Fraternity for Life” experience by offering its members an association with the Fraternity after their undergraduate days have been completed. For 140+ years our clubs have served as an outlet for alumni activity, an asset to the community, and a benefit to Phi Delta Theta.
The first alumni chapter was organized in 1871 in Indianapolis. The 1872 General Convention decided that alumni clubs were impractical. However, the 1874 General Convention adopted a preamble and resolution declaring that such chapters would be beneficial to the Fraternity, and made a call to alumni to establish such an organization in their locality. The first official alumni chapter was organized in Franklin, Indiana by George Banta on November 7, 1876. The title alumni club was designated by legislative action of the 1898 General Convention.
Alumni clubs can be a valued organization within any community. Members, their families and friends can all take part in activities sponsored by the alumni club. The Phi Delt alumni experience, realized by members with divergent interests, is a wonderful and unique benefit of our membership.
How to Start An Alumni Club
It takes just a handful of alumni to start or rejuvenate an alumni club. First, contact GHQ to receive a listing of local alumni and key contacts in the area. Once contact has been made, you will want to:
- Contact other Phis in your area and form a committee that will oversee the implementation of the initial stages of club formation, including recruitment, developing a mission statement, etc.
- Elect or appoint officers of the alumni club interest group: president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary .
- Contact area Phis through an e-mail, post card, or phone calling campaign and set a date/location for an initial meeting of interested alumni brothers.
- Submit an application for charter to the General Fraternity via the GHQ signed by at least ten alumni brothers residing in your community.
- Discover what the interests of the alumni in your area are, and focus on a sales campaign to build your membership ranks.
- Plan a follow-up meeting that will elect the yearly club officers, then send in the officer list to GHQ adopt a mission statement, develop a calendar of events, designate regular meetings, set goals and objectives for the club, and guarantee the continuation of what has begun.
Alumni Club Best Practices
While each alumni club takes on a personality of its own due to its membership base and desired goals, every successful club has several things in common.
- Elect enthusiastic and dedicated officers. An alumni club’s success is directly related to the leadership of the organization. It is important to elect officers who have the time and dedication to devote to the club. It is recommended that each club elect a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and several members-at-large who together work as a Board of Directors or Executive Committee. You may wish to elect officers separately or as a slate.
- Provide your club with money in the bank. A club should not be expected to function without a decent cash flow or on a “pass the hat” basis. Successful clubs rely on, and receive, money from dues from its members. Charging members dues of $25.00 to $50.00 is a good start, and additional revenue can be raised through different types of fundraising events.
- Publish an alumni club newsletter on a regular basis. Send out a quarterly newsletter to all members of the club. Send the first newsletter of the year to all Phi Delts in your locality; this issue could have a call for new members, a calendar of events, and a dues request. Good newsletters briefly note General Fraternity news, a calendar of upcoming club events, local alumni notes, the happenings of area undergraduate chapters, highlights of past club functions, etc.
- Keep an updated membership file. Between the General Headquarters and your local membership directory, you should be able to keep your files updated. The General Headquarters has membership information on Phis in your area, and can provide it to you. Alumni Clubs can assist the effort by informing the GHQ of address changes on behalf of members.
- Utilize the committee structure. Don’t let the major officers do all the work. Utilize members-at-large to steer committees on Founders Day, recruitment, community service, undergraduate leadership, etc. From here new leaders can be groomed.
- Publicity helps. Besides your own alumni newsletter, publicize your past and future events in the local papers, area undergraduate alumni newsletters, and The Scroll, Phi Delta Theta’s international magazine. Get the word out that an active alumni club of Phi Delta Theta is making a difference in your area.
- Work closely with the local chapter adviser and the area province president. Our best clubs involve its local undergraduate chapters and volunteers.