Initiating new members into Alpha Lambda Delta is an important task that occurs in each chapter each year. New members are the lifeblood of the organization. These new Alpha Lambda Delta initiates are able to ﬁnd other students like themselves through membership, and are eligible for leadership positions and scholarship awards. Even for students who are not looking to be involved in the chapter, membership allows them to be recognized for academic achievement and proudly include the honor on their resume.
How Often Should You Invite Prospective Members?
Each chapter decides how many initiation ceremonies (and invitations) that it will conduct. Students may meet the eligibility requirements for membership at the end of either their first term/semester or their first year of college.
There are no limits to the number of possible models for scheduling your chapter’s invitations and initiations, but the majority of the Alpha Lambda Delta chapters follow one of these three models:
- Spring Initiation – Students are evaluated at the end of their first term (fall semester). Students are invited and initiated during the second term (spring semester) of their first year.
- Fall Initiation – Students are evaluated at the end of their first year. Students are invited and initiated during the first term (fall semester) of their second year.
- Two Initiations – Students are evaluated twice – at the ends of both their first term and their first year. Students are invited to join at their first eligibility, and are inducted during either the second term of their first year or the first term of their second.
Regardless of which model your chapter adopts, eligible students must be initiated before the end of their sophomore year.
Obtaining Eligibility Lists
Obtaining a list of eligible students is generally handled first by the advisor, with assistance from student officers. It is the advisor who has access to or the ability to request lists of eligible students from the Registrar. For tips on how to work with your institution’s Registrar and properly request eligibility lists, see Working with Your Registrar.
Develop a timeline for requesting the list, sending the invitation, allowing students enough time to accept membership, and holding an initiation ceremony. See Initiation Timeline for a sample timeline.
After obtaining the list of eligible students, the next step is to send invitation and information materials to them. Student officers and the advisor should work closely to ensure this is accomplished accurately and efficiently.
There are multiple ways chapters may choose to invite eligible members. We recommend a combination, and when possible, ALL of the following:
- Emails using ALD’s online system called MyHonorSociety (MHS)
- Emails to eligible students sent directly from chapter advisor
- Printed letters mailed to all eligible students
- Printed letters mailed to permanent addresses or directly to parents
MHS is a web-based management system that allows your chapter to streamline operations, automate invitations sent to prospective members, and enable students to join and pay dues quickly and efficiently online.
Step-by-step guides for using MHS are available on our website. Guides explain logging into MHS, creating an invitation group, personalizing your messages, sending an invitation reminder, downloading your induction list, accessing current membership lists, and updating chapter information.
Be sure your letters and emails are worded properly and have sufficient information that encourages students to accept membership. See Recruitment Best Practices for additional tips and strategies for successful new member recruitment.
How Much Should the Local Dues Be?
Each chapter sets its own local dues, which is collected in addition to the $25 national dues. These local dues vary widely among chapters – anywhere from $5 to $40. We would like to encourage you to collect a reasonable amount for local dues – they are a good means of funding local projects, but no student should find membership in Alpha Lambda Delta to be a financial hardship.
If you are not using MHS, it should be clear to eligible students the amount due and to whom the check is written. The National Office will not accept individual checks from prospective members. The chapter should collect and process all monies, and then forward the appropriate funds ($25 per new member) to the National Office as a single payment. There are two options for handling chapter funds: maintaining an on-campus account with your institution, or maintaining an off-campus account at a banking institution. Whichever option you choose, please make it clear to students to whom payment should be made – on-campus accounts generally require that fees collected be payable to the institution itself; off-campus accounts, of course, should be payable to the name of the account (i.e., “Alpha Lambda Delta Chapter, ABC University”).
As mentioned above, if using MHS, students are able to join and pay dues quickly and efficiently online.
See Financial Matters for more information about how to handle ALD membership dues.
The Invitations are Sent, Now What?
Once your deadline has passed, the National Office will process membership lists and then send to the chapter the certificates, pins, and any local dues collected.
If your chapter does not use the MHS system for students to accept their membership, advisors can complete an online form to upload membership lists. The National Office will process membership lists and then send to the chapter the certificates, pins, and an invoice for national dues owed.
To ensure that your membership certificates and pins reach your chapter in time for the initiation ceremony, we need to have your list at least two weeks prior to the initiation. It is advisable in the letter of invitation to be specific about membership procedures. Sample letters of invitation are available on the website and are also embedded as templates within the MyHonorSociety system.
In most cases, students are allowed to join Alpha Lambda Delta after the deadline you’ve set.
The ALD "late joiner" policy is designated by the ALD individual chapter. The National Office supports each chapter's policy. The following are the choices that are set up in the MHS system (Chapter Profile – Late Acceptance Tab):
- Invitations remain active until ____ days after the group’s Expiration date (default set to 15 days)
- Invitations expire on their set expiration date (late acceptance NOT ALLOWED)
- Invitations remain active until a new Invitation Group is created
- Invitations NEVER expire
The National Office default in the MHS System is set at 15 days past the closing/expiration date. This means the student can still accept their invitation up to 15 days past the closing date. However, keep in mind that the “late joiner” certificates will not be guaranteed to arrive by the initiation date. Please allow 3 weeks after the student’s acceptance to receive the late joiner certificates. You may want to print a “mock” certificate to present at the induction ceremony if the official certificate does not arrive in time.
One of the ways to increase the awareness of your chapter is to extend honorary membership to members of your campus community. Faculty leaders, outstanding instructors, honors directors, first year experience staff, residence life staff, deans, academic vice presidents, provosts, and the president of the institution are all very good candidates for this honor and a wonderful way to recognize important figures within your university.
Each chapter has a different method for selecting recipients of this honor. The membership as a whole can elect honorary members, selections can be made by the officer team on the advice of the advisors, or a special “Honorary Committee” can be appointed with representatives from the officer team and membership at large. Honorary memberships are free, so money does not have to be a consideration.
Special Note About Using MHS Exclusively
There is a concern that many students are not reading their university email, due to the volume they receive, or perceptions that it is spam or from a bogus organization. Please notify your IT department of the start date for sending the email invitation. Reference the IT Guide for other useful information to ensure student emails do not end up in spam folders.
For those chapters who would like to enhance their communication with eligible students, the National Office encourages you to consider sending letters to students, and in particular, sending letters to their permanent home address, either to the student or “to the parents of.” Be sure to request addresses when asking the Registrar for eligible student lists. Please note: because the letter only indicates that they met the eligibility and does not include the student’s specific grades (and therefore does not include an educational record), sending a letter home does not violate privacy rights.
If mailing a letter poses a financial strain to your chapter, please contact the National Office to discuss ways we can offer support.
Sample letters can be found on our website.
For concerns about ALD being perceived as bogus or not a legitimate honor society, see An Open Letter to Students Invited to Join Honor Societies.
Planning Your Initiation Ceremony
Students have joined, you have their new member certificates and pins, now it’s time to initiate them. See initiation ceremony document.
Some chapter advisors find that recruiting new officers each year is their biggest challenge. Alpha Lambda Delta members are among the most active and involved students on campus, but there is usually a way to find a team of seven to ten members who are willing to donate their time to ALD, and to gain valuable leadership skills in return. Successful chapter advisors recommend staying proactive in the search for new chapter officers. Waiting for students to volunteer for leadership positions can often result in incomplete officer teams.
See Officer Transition Plan for information such as officer position descriptions, a sample application, and transition planning.
Chapter Programming and Contact with Oﬃcers
Advisors are encouraged to have frequent contact with chapter officers in order to know what events are being planned and when the group may need help. As a new advisor, one of your first tasks should be to meet with the chapter officers to find out what they have already accomplished and their goals for the year.
You may want to set a regular meeting with the officers, perhaps every second or third week. Often it is necessary to remind officers of important dates and deadlines, especially those involving the National Office. It is helpful if you can attend general meetings in addition to initiations and activities. You can often be a great resource for the chapter, offering ideas for campus and community events, and suggesting ways to improve events. Join your chapter's social media accounts to keep in the loop on events and meetings.
Anytime the chapter has a large number of new members, officers should plan activities, such as icebreakers, to facilitate student introductions. Students can be very nervous in new situations and icebreakers are a great way to get people talking. See Chapter Activities for ideas on how to keep members active throughout the year.
Chapter Annual Report
Each year, in accordance with IRS regulations, the National Office of Alpha Lambda Delta requires that each chapter submit an annual report. This report only takes a few moments to complete and is available as an online form. The National Office will contact you regarding the completion and submission of the annual report during early spring of each year, the deadline for completing the report is May 10 of each year.