How to Identify an Advisor

Phi Mu Delta chapters and colonies have many support systems – the National Office, the campus Greek Advisor(s), and a Chapter Advisory Board. This PMDpride post is all about advisory boards. Chapters/colonies that have strong Chapter Advisory Boards are more successful and have stronger chapter operations.  For groups that may not have an advisor, here are some steps in order to identify one.

Ideally, there should be a 6 person Chapter Advisory Board, consisting of a Chapter Advisor, an Academic Advisor, a Membership Education Advisor, a Recruitment Advisor, a Financial Advisor, and a Judicial Advisor.

Hint: Finding an advisor is similar to recruitment – you have to identify, clearly explain expectations, and invite them to be a member of the team. It requires work to find great advisors!

Step 1: Brainstorm
As a group, identify people that have been instrumental in your chapter/colony’s success – think of alumni, faculty, staff, people in your local community, family members, etc. How did they support you? Some advisors may be able to provide support virtually, if they do not live near campus, but it’s important that at least a few are in the local area. Note: Advisors do not have to be Phi Mu Delta alumni, but they do need to be a positive support for the chapter/colony.

Ask the National Office or your Campus Greek Advisor for recommendations or use alumni events as a way to engage potential advisors. Still stuck?  Use mind joggers to think of possible advisors, instead of potential new members.

Step 2: Meet and Establish a Relationship
If you haven’t met this person – set up a meeting. This requires you to reach out to people or if they work on campus, stop in their office to set up a meeting. Only sending an email or two, and expecting a relationship, is not going to be effective. Be proactive in your search.
Once you’ve met the person, or maybe you’ve already met, get to know them. Ask them about their interests, collegiate experience, etc. and be genuine. If your only goal in this conversation is to get them to be advisor, you’ve missed out on a great opportunity. Even if the person can’t commit to being on the advisory team, they can still be a resource for your chapter/colony!

Just like you, potential advisors are busy and sometimes miss emails or forget to return your phone call, don’t give up on someone because you haven’t heard back. Check in and request a face-to-face meeting.

Step 3: Explain Expectations
How are you approaching the question of asking them to be an advisor? If you are unprepared to answer questions from this potential advisor, they are probably going to decline your offer. (Wouldn’t you?) Explain why you’re asking them to serve as an advisor, what you think they can bring to the team, and the type of commitment you are asking for.

It is an expectation of the National Office that the Chapter Advisor, at least, regularly attends chapter meetings!

Step 4: Introduce Them to the Chapter
Once they understand the expectations of being an advisor, invite them to attend a chapter meeting so they can meet other members and understand the basic operations. Allow them to sit back and observe the meeting and provide an opportunity for members to get to know them.

Don’t “put on a show” for this potential advisor. Have a genuine meeting as you typically would so they can understand who you are as a group and what they can expect.

Step 5: Invite Them to Fraternity Related Events
This is where they can candidly meet other members of the chapter/colony and see who you are outside of chapter meetings. Similarly to recruitment, invite them to normal activities you do as a group – brotherhood events, service projects, philanthropy events, fundraisers, etc.

Be sure to give the person notice about these events so they can mark it on their calendars!

Step 6: Ask Them to Be A Part of the Team
Is there a specific role you need this person to fill or does he/she have the opportunity to select a role, based on interests and commitment level?  When asking them to serve, ensure to provide them with an understand of what this role means!

They may need some time to decide if they can commit to serving as an advisor, allow them to make the decision at their own pace.

Step 7: Educate
Once they’ve agreed to be an advisor, allow them to learn about the group in their own way. Some like to sit back and watch a few chapter meetings, whereas others like to dive in and ask questions. Provide them with important documents about the organization – the National Volunteer Handbook, local Constitution/By-Laws, a roster with contact information, a calendar of events, meeting minutes, etc.

It may take some time for this person to learn about the group, depending on their experience with Phi Mu Delta – allow them to learn and teach what you know. The National Office will have a certification program soon for Chapter Advisors!

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is simply a guide to help chapters/colonies find potential advisors and not a perfect one size fits all approach.

If you know someone that may be interested or are interested in serving as an advisor to a Phi Mu Delta chapter/colony and do not know who to contact, please contact the National Office.

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