By Ellyce Loveless, Chapter Consultant
All chapters experience the hurdles of retaining members. Brothers become involved in other organizations, take on new jobs, participate in internships - and suddenly they don't have time for Alpha Phi Omega. Maybe members even lose sight of why they joined APO and don't feel passion for the organization anymore.
Take it one step further! What about retaining those members who have recently served the chapter on executive committee? Retention of these individuals can become complicated as they make the transition back into active membership post-office term. They may find it difficult to relinquish leadership roles or they may not understand what part they play in future chapter programming. What is your chapter doing to facilitate this transition for its returning officers? Here are some ideas!
1. Have each outgoing officer set one SMART goal for the upcoming semester. Some examples are: leading a new event, participating in a part of chapter they never have before, or working on an aspect of their personal leadership development. Check in with them on their goal as the semester progresses, and offer help or encouragement should they need it.
2. Incorporate senior recognition activities into chapter programming to motivate officers and actives in their final year. Consider award banquets, senior days or senior send-offs, and senior gifts.
3. Officers past and present have amazing perspective and experience. Continue to seek out the chapterofficers' advice, even if they no longer serve in an executive position. Additionally create a mentor program for outgoing officers and senior members, connecting them to a new member who shares a major or common interest.
4. If members are interested in volunteering with APO after graduation, encourage them to complete the Basic Skills Webinar to prepare them for presenting workshops and APO LEADS courses. This will not only improve their own leadership development, but will be invaluable to chapters in the future. Check out all upcoming webinars on the apo.org calendar.
5. Finally, if officers are experiencing burnout during their term, this can lead to a break from APO in their final semesters. Solve this problem before it happens by delegating duties between officers and committees.
If you are an officer who will be returning in the coming year, consider your role as a servant leader in the Fraternity. Stewardship of knowledge is a big part of servant leadership, so make sure to do all you can to transition information and healthy practices to the incoming officer for the position you hold. Additionally, don't lose heart! It can be hard to dedicate so much of your time and energy to APO one year and then to let go of those responsibilities and routines the next. Your contribution as an officer in Alpha Phi Omega is invaluable to the Fraternity. You have done a great service to your brothers, so begin meditating on how you can continue to be a servant leader in the coming months and years.