Redefine Super Successful

Redefine Super Successful

“That chapter has twenty-nine members. They must be super successful.”

“That chapter only has five members. They can’t possibly be meeting programming requirements.”

There is a misconception that small chapters cannot offer a strong, fun, developmental, and balanced experience. In fact, small chapters can offer an intimate brotherhood or sisterhood while still offering a breadth of programming. Often, smaller chapters will talk about the limitations they face but, regardless of size, you will see the same percentage of members doing the work. When you look at successful chapters who are smaller in numbers, what can you attribute to their success?

  • They connect with other student organizations. Successful chapters reach out to other organizations with similar purpose and mission. They know partnering on programming can benefit both groups in the ability to share the planning and in the number of members able to serve. Successful chapters realize those new, mutually beneficial partnerships lead to new friendships. And new friendships can, sometimes, lead to prospective members.

  • They cultivate their legacies. According to Jacqueline Baron, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. member, “we had multiple legacies [in my chapter] which I think helped because it made us realize how vast the sisterhood was. I grew up going to my mom’s chapter meetings, and I still go to chapter events with her. So to recognize this sisterhood is for life and you could travel just about anywhere and find a soror was always inspiring.” When someone knows and loves your organization already, they are invested. That investment translates to a willingness to work, which can only help the chapter thrive.

  • They believe in themselves. When you are invested in the idea of being great, you are willing to hustle. When members are brought into the organization, they are brought in with the understanding of greatness. If you do not know what makes your chapter stand out, ask your graduate advisor, graduate chapter members, fraternity/sorority advisor, and other campus professionals. Think about what you want to be known for and determine how you will cultivate that.

  • They develop relationships with professionals on campus. Knowing the fraternity/sorority advisor, student activities coordinator, or multicultural association advisor allows them to know your chapter’s programming and vision. Those professionals can share that in discussions with other student groups, helping you to discover new partnerships. They also often know about monies that might be available for programming that benefits the community or campus.

  • They document their successes. They share their successes with their constituencies including the graduate chapter, grand chapter, fraternity/sorority community, and campus community. They provide program plan outlines for future leaders. They evaluate where programs can be improved. And their award applications are detailed and show their greatness!

Success is not driven by size. Success is driven by wanting to make a difference and knowing the value you offer to your community. Thriving has as much to do with attitude as effort. Recognize your strengths and share those every chance you can. Believe in yourself. A small organization may be small in size, but it does not have to be small in stature.


Stacy Kraus McDonald is inspired by organizations that make a positive impact on in their community. She loves to mentor leaders and celebrate group successes. Stacy is a former fraternity/sorority advisor and current small business owner. She also volunteers for her sorority, Sigma Kappa.

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