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

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