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Monday, November 13, 2023

Chapter Culture and Structure Aids in Member Recruitment and Retention

Do any of the following sound familiar?  I am dropping my membership because:

  •         Meeting times/places are incompatible with my schedule.
  • The chapter is no longer meeting my needs.
  • At meetings, I feel like an outsider.  No one welcomes or talks to me.
  • Some members are very unkind.
  • I feel disenfranchised because there is lack of communication and connection.
  • We don’t do anything. 
  • Meetings are a joke.  People only come to eat and socialize.

These comments are what members often share on the dropped member surveys.  These reasons are all linked to the culture and structure of the chapter; to what we do, how we behave (especially toward one another), and how the chapter is organized.  The good news is both chapter culture and structure are parts of chapter life over which we have control and about which we can do something. 

Culture of the chapter has to do with its overall atmosphere and is created by what members think, say, and do.  Structure of the chapter includes how the chapter is organized.  This includes such things as when, how often, and how long the chapter meets; number of standing committees; number of social events; types of programs; and types of service projects. 

Everyone in the chapter has a role when it comes to the chapter’s culture and structure. Chapter leaders build and drive a great culture; they set the stage.  They must create an environment that encourages diversity (everyone has a seat at the table), inclusion (everyone has a voice), and belonging (everyone’s voice is heard).  Members bring the culture to life through their behavior, behavior that should be kind, helpful, communicative, respectful and open minded.  All of this will lead to an atmosphere that is positive, considerate, kind, helpful, inclusive, welcoming, and one that will make members feel valued.  Members who feel valued are more likely to remain members.

A chapter culture that is inclusive, kind, respectful, open minded and a chapter structure that keeps the needs and preferences of members at its heart is a chapter that will be better able to retain current and recruit new members. 

International website resources that will help improve chapter culture and structure include:

  •          Resources>DKG Officer Resources>Membership>Guidelines for Chapter Leaders>p. 10
  • Resources>DKG Officer Resources>Chapter Strengthening>Tools for Chapters>
    Strategies for a Positive Chapter Environment

Members of the International Membership and Expansion Committee are also available to help.

Contact them by clicking on Committees under the About tab on the DKG International website. 

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