National Fraternity DOUBLES In Size; Credits “Living Our Values”

Kappa Delta Rho is a social fraternity with chapters on 38 college campuses across the United States.  Since 2007, undergraduate membership has skyrocketed 109% according the Executive Director, Joe Rosenberg.  He told Phired Up’s Josh Orendi, “KDR chapters are living our values, expecting Social Excellence, and using Dynamic Recruitment.”  The last 6 years have produced record breaking growth for the fraternity.  On March 17th, Josh caught up with Joe for a conversation about KDR’s recruitment success:

Phired Up:  Will you share KDR’s growth numbers over the last 6 years?
Joe:  Here is the report I recently gave our Board of Directors.

REGION        MEMBERS 2007    MEMBERS 2013    GROWTH
Northeast          242                                460                               90%
Central               192                                391                               104%
Midwest             200                               421                               111%
South                 141                                348                               147%
Total                 775                              1620                            109%

Phired Up:  KDR isn’t the only national fraternity with impressive growth numbers….
Joe:  That’s true, but we’re doing it in a different way.  We have a different philosophy.

Phired Up:  What is KDR’s philosophy on growth?
Joe:  Too many people look at growth as being external – as though it can only happen through new chapter expansion.  That’s not 100% true.  Case in point, KDR is not hiring a Director of Expansion.  We are planning to hire a Director of Growth.  Sure we’ll open new groups, that’s a good thing.  But, we’re focused on the growth and success of our existing chapters.  We don’t throw chapters away because of low membership.  We re-invest in them.  The biggest factor impacting our growth is small chapters that are now succeeding.

Phired Up:  For example?
Joe:  We feel like we have an obligation to help our chapters of 20 or fewer members become thriving chapters of 40+ members.  Our Penn State chapter is a great example.  They had 21 members a few years ago.  The organization re-invested in them and helped them learn how to use Dynamic Recruitment to sell KDR’s values.  Today they’re 109 members strong.

Phired Up:  Are you doing any expansions to start KDR chapters on new campuses?
Joe:  The KDR national staff has re/started 9 chapters in the last 5 years.  We’ve also closed 6 chapters during that time.  In some ways this could be considered addition through subtraction.  We aren’t afraid to close a chapter that doesn’t want to play by the rules.  Our expansions make it possible to hold groups accountable, but it also allows us to return to schools where we have dormant chapters.  We choose our expansion opportunities very intentionally.  During my time as Executive Director, we’ve only had one failed expansion project.

Phired Up:  Where did you find the resources to make this investment in growth?
Joe:  Creative partnerships were an important piece of the puzzle.  For example, our alumni groups have stepped up to partner with the national fraternity on campuses like Oregon State and Bucknell.  These are re-colonizations led by the national fraternity, but partially funded by the chapter alumni associations.  The organization is working in cooperation internally.  We’re finding new ways to get to our shared goal of more and better KDR gentlemen.

Phired Up:  Is the organization better because it’s bigger?
Joe:  KDR can do more good because we have more members.

Phired Up:  What is recruitment doing to the bottom line?
Joe:  We have more resources because membership has increased.  The professional staff has grown from 2 to 8 team members who are dedicated to serving our brothers.  We’ve revamped our new member program from traditional pledging to a state of the art member education program called The Legion. The regional meetings have been replaced by a more professional and effective Council’s Academy for newly elected officers.

Phired Up:  Is this the largest KDR has ever been?
Joe:  KDR experienced a membership growth surge a few decades ago.  We grew really fast, then we fell even faster.  Those lessons hurt, but we learned from them.  Growth without proper infrastructure is not sustainable.  We won’t make that mistake again.

Phired Up:  Will you keep growing at this rate?
Joe:  Our Board of Directors established a strategic plan in 2012 with the goal of more than 1400 undergraduates.  We are almost there two years ahead of schedule.  .  What I can tell you is that the experience our members are receiving is world class.  KDR is effectively competing with organizations 3-10 times our membership size.  We’re providing a very personal member experience that our brothers appreciate and at the same time, we’re pushing innovations that advance the interfraternal movement.

Phired Up:  So basically it’s a great time to be a member of Kappa Delta Rho…
Joe:  It’s fun to be part of a winning team, that’s for sure.  KDR’s strategic plan calls for 400 undergraduate members in each of our 4 regions of the country by 2017.  We’re on pace to pass that goal a year ahead of schedule.  That’ll put a smile on everyone’s face.

Interview Date:  March 17, 2014
Interview Conducted By:  Josh Orendi, Josh@PhiredUp.com
Guest:  Joe Rosenberg, Executive Director of Kappa Delta Rho fraternity

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