The Seven Habits of Successful House Corporations

1. Operate Like A Business

  • Alumni Leadership
    • Alumni/Parent Relations Program In Place
    • Recruit Those With A Passion For The Chapter
      Follow A Specific Plan For Volunteer Identification, Recruitment, Training & Recognition
    • Identify Your 2-3 Core Leaders & Surround Them With Others
    • Invest In Education
    • Identify Those With A “Thick Skin”
    • Ensure That Everyone Is Having Fun & Is Recognized
  • Reporting
    • Incorporate
    • File Annual Report
    • File Other Tax Reports
  • Property Management
    • Establish A Budget
    • Decide If Professional and/or Volunteer Management Is Needed For: Chapter Finances, Alumni Chapter & House Corporation Finances & Property Maintenance
    • Ensure That A Professional or Volunteer Makes Inspections Weekly
    • Ensure That The House Corporation Property Manager & Undergraduate House Manager Speak Weekly
    • Meet With The Chapter As A Whole At The Beginning Of Each Semester
    • Have An Online Maintenance Form
    • Follow Move-In & Move-Out Procedures
    • Have A Resident Advisor If Possible
    • Follow A 5-Year Master Plan
    • Budget & Ensure You Complete Maintenance Every Holiday &/or Summer
    • Hold The Chapter Accountable For Cleanliness & Damage
    • Use Security Cameras (Controversial But It Works)
  • Master Lease & House Rules
    • Ensure That You Have Rules For Use of the House
    • Follow A Master Lease That Includes Fees, Rules, Etc.
    • Require The Chapter To Use Housing/Member Contracts Rules Need To Be Posted In The Lobby, – In Members Rooms, On The Website, Emailed To Members & Parents & Attached To Their Leases
    • Discuss With The Chapter Each Semester
  • Meet At Least Quarterly
    • Set Annual Meeting Schedule & Promote Via Email, Newsletter & Website
    • Hold Meetings In Different Markets (Top 2-4 Markets Where Your Alumni Live)
    • Invite Alumni & Parents In The Market You Are Meeting To A Reception (This Will Cultivate Them & Maybe Identify New Volunteers)
  • Recruit New Volunteers Every Few Years
    • Identify Sharp Undergraduate Leaders Who Are Graduating & Recruit Them To Your Board
    • Have A Volunteer Recruitment Committee Focused On Recruiting A Few More Volunteers
    • Use An Interest/Involvement Survey
  • Follow One-Year & Five-Year Master Plan & Budget
    • Involve Advisors, House Corporation, Parents & Undergraduates In Developing & Updating A 1-Year & 5-Year Plan Every Year
    • Follow An Annual Budget
    • Focus On Alumni/Parent Relations, Finances, Fundraising, Land, Facility & Volunteers
  • Resources On Your Website
    • Everything You Do Should Go On The Website (Public & Private Areas)
    • Educate All Alumni & Undergraduate Leaders On Where Resources Are
    • Review & Update Annually
  • Beat Your Competition
    • Your Philosophy Must Be: “How Can We Remain Competitive Not Today, But 10-15 Years From Now?”
    • What Can You Provide That Is Better Than Apartments, Dorms Houses & Other Fraternity Facilities
  • Open Communication
    • Stay Involved With University House Corporation Committees & Your National House Corporation If Appropriate
    • House Corporation Officers Communicate With Each Other As Needed
    • House Manager & Property Manager Communicate Weekly
    • Require The Chapter To Provide Monthly Accounting Reports To The Board
    • House Corporation Update Email To All Board Members Monthly & All Alumni & Parents Annually
    • House Corporation Meets At Least Quarterly
    • Every Term or Quarterly Meeting With Entire Chapter & Officers
  • Have Fun!
    • Volunteers Join To Be Around Others They Enjoy – Remember That

2. Execute Master & Individual Leases

  • Officers Sign For Chapter Use Each Year In March/April (House Rules Attached)
  • Chapter Secures Signed Leases By All Members (Renters, Meal Plan & Dues)

3. Research, Charge Market Rents & Collect It

  • Research Apartments, Houses, Dorms & Other Fraternities Rent Fees Every 1-2 Years
  • Ensure That The Chapter Understands Why You Have Set Rent At The Level You Have
  • Set The Rent & Collect 100% (Use Professionals As Needed)
  • Bill Up Front & Provide A Discount & For Those Who Can Not Pay It Use Payment Plans

4. Establish A Maintenance Reserve Fund

  • Budget To Put Away No Less Than 5-10% of Your Annual Revenues
  • Have A Life-Use Assessment of Your Facility Completed So You Can Set A Budget
  • Consider An Undergraduate Building Fee

5. Reduce The Debt & Fundraise

  • Do Not Let Your Debt Get Out of Control
  • Rule of Thumb For Long-Term Debt Is No More Than $5,000 to $10,000 Per Bed
  • Every 20-25 Years You Should Complete A Major Campaign

6. Fill The House

  • Do Whatever It Takes To Keep The House At Least 90% Full
  • Have The Chapter Use A Point System For Move-In & Move-Out Priority

7. Develop A Sense of “Ownership” In The Undergraduates

  • Have Officers At All Board Meetings
  • Have Officers Help The House Corporation Set The Rent & Rules
  • Have Fun With The Undergraduates With Ann Annual Meeting Trip